Plants are all around us, and they have many purposes. They provide food, shade, and shelter. At times, they are just pleasant to look at. But for whatever purpose, plants have been living in this earth for a long time. And they have continued to grow.
There are plants that grow up to hundreds of feet in the air while others are too small that it is difficult to see them with the naked eye. However, how big a plant may become, it will always take time. Just like any living creature, plants grow through time. Some grow quite fast while others seem to take forever to grow. So what is the slowest growing plant? I don’t think there has been an exact study conducted to determine which plant naturally grows slowest. And I mean it still grows slow despite the fact that it has everything it needs to grow well. So there are several contenders for the slowest growing plant award.
One is the dioon. It takes 35 years before it starts to grow a branch. The dioon looks like a certain type of palm. However, it is actually a cycad, a much more ancient plant than the palm. Another contender is the saguaro. The saguaro is a cactus native to North American deserts and can live for a very long time. It takes 75 years for the saguaro cactus to grow a side arm.
As some say, size does not matter. The little moss seligeria is also contender for our award. It and other mosses that live under rocks are tough competitions as well. But their growth can be quite difficult to monitor making it also difficult to note whether they are still alive. Other slow growing plants are the murudiensis and the lowii. They are two types of pitcher plants. Pitcher plants are carnivorous plants that prey mostly on insects.
The slowest growing tree award goes to the white cedar, found in Canada. This tree grows pretty slowly, yet we don’t really know if it is the slowest growing plant in the entire world. Another slow-growing tree is the bristlecone pine. Bristlecone pines grow extremely slow due to lack of nutrients, yet they can live up to 5000 years.
Plant growth is significantly affected by the amount of nutrients they get. Those that live in harsher environments, like the saguaro cactus, take more time to grow than those that live in, let’s say, the tropics. One thing to note, however, is that it does not matter how slow you grow as long as you do not stop.