Tropical forests are green throughout the year, so brute force is needed for a successful climb to the top of the canopy: the rattan is an example that has the longest stem of any plant. As its name suggests, the strangler fig 'throttles' its host by growing around it and cutting off essential water and light.
Some acacias are protected by ants, which will defend their refuge from any predator. Besides accommodation, the guards are rewarded with nectar and, from certain species, protein for their larvae as well. Fungi feed on plants but also provide essential nutriment to saplings. The connection is never broken throughout a tree's life
The final episode deals with plants that live in hostile environments. Attenborough visits Ellesmere Island, north of the Arctic Circle, to demonstrate that even in a place that is unconducive to life, it can be found.
Its very existence defies belief. Scientists are desperate to get into the lake because its extreme environment may be home to unique flora and fauna, never seen before, and NASA are excited by what it could teach us about extraterrestrial life. But 4 kilometers of ice stand between the lake and the surface, and breaking this seal without contaminating the most pristine body of water on the planet is possibly one of the greatest challenges science faces in the 21st century
The series takes a global view of the specialized strategies and extreme behavior that living things have evolved in order to survive; what Charles Darwin termed “the struggle for existence”. Four years in the making, the series has been shot entirely in high definition.