Every plant needs a few basic elements: light, water, and food. When we walk in natural places we see plants adapting to the balance of those elements that the land and weather provide. A spruce growing in the deep bottomland of a river valley grows tall and broad. Its genetic cousin, sprouted in a crevice on a mountainside is dwarfed and shaped by hardships. A short walk anywhere will reveal hundreds of species living in apparent harmony. Each plant sprouted in a moment of optimum light, warmth, and moisture. Often, that plant represents a minute portion of the seeds offered by the parent plant in that particular year.
In any given year, only a fraction of a plant’s seeds sprout but by shear volume the parent plant still produces hundreds to thousands of seedlings. It is the seedling that has the hardest time surviving.