The nature series turns to plants and looks at the ingenious solutions that they employ to counter life's challenges, such as spring-loaded traps, suckers and claws.
Plants' solutions to life's challenges are as ingenious and manipulative as any animal's.
Innovative time-lapse photography opens up a parallel world where plants act like fly-paper, or spring-loaded traps, to catch insects. Vines develop suckers and claws to haul themselves into the rainforest canopy. Every peculiar shape proves to have a clever purpose. The dragon's blood tree is like an upturned umbrella to capture mist and shade its roots. The seed of a Bornean tree has wings so aerodynamic they inspired the design of early gliders. The barrel-shaped desert rose is full of water. The heliconia plant even enslaves a humming bird and turns it into an addict for its nectar.
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
Introduction to Trees
A quick look at the various traits of trees, including fast growth and the ability to survive for thousands of years.
Rather than wait for the sunlight to come to them, some plants climb their way towards it; whilst the air-plant has a resourceful way of soaking up water and gathering nutrients.
The sundew attracts its prey with its sweet smell, whilst the Venus fly trap has an occasional truce with its target in order to be pollinated.
Flowers enable plants to reproduce; this comes easily for the Sunflower, which gets some help from pollinating bees, but the Richea Honey Bush is a lot more delicate.
Plants vs. Pollinators
The Sandhill milkweed puts up with a caterpillar onslaught in order to achieve pollination, and the Heliconia rations its nectar to the hummingbird so it returns for more.
Spreading the Seed
Before death, the Brunsvigia uses the wind to spread its seeds, the Alsomitra seeds glide far away from the pod, and the seeds from a Saguaro cactus are taken by a variety of creatures.
The Dragons Blood Tree manages to live during a brutal dry season in Socotra and the Red Mangrove survives in deadly salt water.
Harsh Conditions: Part 2
With autumn and winter on the horizon, the broad-leafed tree uses its resources to make sure it can hold on for five months, whilst the pine survives harsher temperatures in western America.
After the conditions of the previous months, life starts to grow again. This includes two particular types of plants which help the human world function: grass and wheat.
Life on Location – Time Warp
An in-depth look at how the film makers employed various techniques in order to capture plants at their best.
Role Contributor Narrator David Attenborough Executive Producer Michael Gunton Producer Neil Lucas