Rocky scrubland, Australia
polar bear

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Scrubland

Scrublands are areas that are dry and hot during the summer but saved from becoming deserts by cool, moist winters. Scrublands go by many names: chaparral in California, mallee in Australia, fynbos in South Africa, and mattoral in Chile.

In these areas, some plants may lie dormant during summer, budding and blooming in autumn and flourishing with the rainfall during winter. Some trees grow here, such as oaks, pines, and cypresses, but they rarely get very large.

An exception is in the scrubland forest of Australia, where the eucalyptus trees can be quite tall. Most of the plants in these habitats are scrub plants. These plants survive the harsh summers by dropping their leaves, having tough, leathery leaves that retain water, or by dying back to their roots to reappear in the fall. Many plants in these areas also have thorns and strong-smelling oils to protect themselves from hungry herbivores.