Terrestrial plant

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Terrestrial plants

A terrestrial plant is a plant that grows on, in, or from land. [1] Other types of plants are aquatic (living in water), epiphytic (living on trees) and lithophytic (living in or on rocks).

The distinction between aquatic and terrestrial plants is often blurred because many terrestrial plants are able to tolerate periodic submersion and many aquatic species have both submersed and emersed forms. [2] There are relatively few obligate submersed aquatic plants (species that cannot tolerate emersion for even relatively short periods), but some examples include members of Hydrocharitaceae and Cabombaceae, Ceratophyllum , and Aldrovanda , and most macroalgae (e.g. Chara and Nitella ). Most aquatic plants can, or prefer to, grow in the emersed form, and most only flower in that form. Many terrestrial plants can tolerate extended periods of inundation, and this is often part of the natural habitat of the plant where flooding is common. These plants (termed helophytes) tolerate extended periods of waterlogging around the roots and even complete submersion under flood waters. Growth rates of helophytes decrease significantly during these periods of complete submersion and if water levels do not recede the plant will ultimately decline and perish. [3]

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wetland</span> Land area that is permanently or seasonally saturated with water

A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded or saturated by water, either permanently or seasonally. Flooding results in oxygen-free (anoxic) processes prevailing, especially in the soils. The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from terrestrial land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique anoxic hydric soils. Wetlands are considered among the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal species. Methods for assessing wetland functions, wetland ecological health, and general wetland condition have been developed for many regions of the world. These methods have contributed to wetland conservation partly by raising public awareness of the functions some wetlands provide.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aquatic plant</span> Plant that has adapted to living in an aquatic environment

Aquatic plants are plants that have adapted to living in aquatic environments. They are also referred to as hydrophytes or macrophytes to distinguish them from algae and other microphytes. A macrophyte is a plant that grows in or near water and is either emergent, submergent, or floating. In lakes and rivers macrophytes provide cover for fish, substrate for aquatic invertebrates, produce oxygen, and act as food for some fish and wildlife.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marsh</span> Wetland that is dominated by herbaceous rather than woody plant species

A marsh is a wetland that is dominated by herbaceous rather than woody plant species. Marshes can often be found at the edges of lakes and streams, where they form a transition between the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. They are often dominated by grasses, rushes or reeds. If woody plants are present they tend to be low-growing shrubs, and the marsh is sometimes called a carr. This form of vegetation is what differentiates marshes from other types of wetland such as swamps, which are dominated by trees, and mires, which are wetlands that have accumulated deposits of acidic peat.

Terrestrial refers to things related to land or the planet Earth.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Salt marsh</span> Coastal ecosystem between land and open saltwater that is regularly flooded

A salt marsh or saltmarsh, also known as a coastal salt marsh or a tidal marsh, is a coastal ecosystem in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and open saltwater or brackish water that is regularly flooded by the tides. It is dominated by dense stands of salt-tolerant plants such as herbs, grasses, or low shrubs. These plants are terrestrial in origin and are essential to the stability of the salt marsh in trapping and binding sediments. Salt marshes play a large role in the aquatic food web and the delivery of nutrients to coastal waters. They also support terrestrial animals and provide coastal protection.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aquatic animal</span> Animal that lives in water for most or all of its lifetime

An aquatic animal is any animal, whether invertebrate or vertebrate, that lives in water for most or all of its lifetime. Many insects such as mosquitoes, mayflies, dragonflies and caddisflies have aquatic larvae, with winged adults. Aquatic animals may breathe air or extract oxygen from water through specialised organs called gills, or directly through the skin. Natural environments and the animals that live in them can be categorized as aquatic (water) or terrestrial (land). This designation is polyphyletic.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Buffer zone</span> Intermediate region, typically between belligerent entities

A buffer zone is a neutral zonal area that lies between two or more bodies of land, usually pertaining to countries. Depending on the type of buffer zone, it may serve to separate regions or conjoin them. Common types of buffer zones are demilitarized zones, border zones and certain restrictive easement zones and green belts. Such zones may be comprised by a sovereign state, forming a buffer state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Littoral zone</span> Part of a sea, lake, or river that is close to the shore

The littoral zone or nearshore is the part of a sea, lake, or river that is close to the shore. In coastal ecology, the littoral zone includes the intertidal zone extending from the high water mark, to coastal areas that are permanently submerged — known as the foreshore — and the terms are often used interchangeably. However, the geographical meaning of littoral zone extends well beyond the intertidal zone to include all neritic waters within the bounds of continental shelves.

Freshwater ecosystems are a subset of Earth's aquatic ecosystems. They include lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, springs, bogs, and wetlands. They can be contrasted with marine ecosystems, which have a larger salt content. Freshwater habitats can be classified by different factors, including temperature, light penetration, nutrients, and vegetation. There are three basic types of freshwater ecosystems: Lentic, lotic and wetlands. Freshwater ecosystems contain 41% of the world's known fish species.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vernal pool</span> Seasonal pools of water that provide habitat for distinctive plants and animals

Vernal pools, also called vernal ponds or ephemeral pools, are seasonal pools of water that provide habitat for distinctive plants and animals. They are considered to be a distinctive type of wetland usually devoid of fish, and thus allow the safe development of natal amphibian and insect species unable to withstand competition or predation by fish. Certain tropical fish lineages have however adapted to this habitat specifically.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aquatic ecosystem</span> Ecosystem in a body of water

An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem formed by surrounding a body of water, in contrast to land-based terrestrial ecosystems. Aquatic ecosystems contain communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment. The two main types of aquatic ecosystems are marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems. Freshwater ecosystems may be lentic ; lotic ; and wetlands.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Detritus</span> Dead particulate organic material

In biology, detritus is dead particulate organic material, as distinguished from dissolved organic material. Detritus typically includes the bodies or fragments of bodies of dead organisms, and fecal material. Detritus typically hosts communities of microorganisms that colonize and decompose it. In terrestrial ecosystems it is present as leaf litter and other organic matter that is intermixed with soil, which is denominated "soil organic matter". The detritus of aquatic ecosystems is organic material that is suspended in the water and accumulates in depositions on the floor of the body of water; when this floor is a seabed, such a deposition is denominated "marine snow".

<i>Echinodorus cordifolius</i> Species of aquatic plant

Echinodorus cordifolius, the spade-leaf sword or creeping burhead, is a species of aquatic plants in the Alismatales. It is native to Mexico, the West Indies, Central America, South America and the southeastern United States.

<i>Echinodorus uruguayensis</i> Species of aquatic plant

Echinodorus uruguayensis or Echinodorus osiris is a plant species in the Alismataceae. It is native to South America.

<i>Echinodorus berteroi</i> Species of aquatic plant

Echinodorus berteroi is an aquatic plant species in the Alismataceae It is native to the southern and central parts of the United States, as well as Central America, the West Indies, and South America as far south as Argentina.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lake ecosystem</span> Type of ecosystem

A lake ecosystem or lacustrine ecosystem includes biotic (living) plants, animals and micro-organisms, as well as abiotic (non-living) physical and chemical interactions. Lake ecosystems are a prime example of lentic ecosystems, which include ponds, lakes and wetlands, and much of this article applies to lentic ecosystems in general. Lentic ecosystems can be compared with lotic ecosystems, which involve flowing terrestrial waters such as rivers and streams. Together, these two ecosystems are examples of freshwater ecosystems.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Terrestrial animal</span> Animals living on land

Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land, as compared with aquatic animals, which live predominantly or entirely in the water, and amphibians, which rely on a combination of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Some groups of insects are terrestrial, such as ants, butterflies, earwigs, cockroaches, grasshoppers and many others, while other groups are partially aquatic, such as mosquitoes and dragonflies, which pass their larval stages in water. Terrestrial animals tend to be more developed and intelligent than aquatic animals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wet meadow</span>

A wet meadow is a type of wetland with soils that are saturated for part or all of the growing season. Debate exists whether a wet meadow is a type of marsh or a completely separate type of wetland. Wet prairies and wet savannas are hydrologically similar. Wet meadows may occur because of restricted drainage or the receipt of large amounts of water from rain or melted snow. They may also occur in riparian zones and around the shores of large lakes.

<i>Lobelia dortmanna</i> Species of aquatic plant

Lobelia dortmanna, Dortmann's cardinalflower or water lobelia, is a species of flowering plant in the bellflower family Campanulaceae. This stoloniferous herbaceous perennial aquatic plant with basal leaf-rosettes and flower stalks grows to 0.7–2 m (2.3–6.6 ft) tall. The flowers are 1–2 cm long, with a five-lobed white to pale pink or pale blue corolla, produced in groups of one to ten on an erect raceme held above the water surface. The fruit is a capsule 5–10 mm long and 3–5 mm wide, containing numerous small seeds.

<i>Sparganium eurycarpum</i> Species of flowering plant

Sparganium eurycarpum is a species of bur-reed known by the common names broadfruit bur-reed and giant bur-reed. It is native to wetlands in Eurasia and North America. It is a clonal perennial, spreading by below-ground rhizomes. The common name, bur-reed, arises from the distinctive round clusters of fruits that take the form of a mace. It can be distinguished from all other species of bur-reed by the presence of two stigmas.


  1. "Definition of TERRESTRIAL". www.merriam-webster.com. Archived from the original on 21 September 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  2. "Aquatic & Terrestrial Plants". Sciencing. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
  3. Brock, T. C. M., G. van der Velde & H. M. van de Steeg, 1987. The effects of extreme water level fluctuations on the wetland vegetation of a nymphaeid-dominated oxbow lake in The Netherlands. Archiv für Hydrobiologie, Ergebnisse der Limnologie 27: 57–73.