Course Content
Biology Form 3
About Lesson


Hydrophytes are plants that grow in freshwater.

This habitat is characterized by a lot of water, low oxygen concentration, low light intensity and low mineral salt concentration.

Hydrophytes are of 3 types:

  • Submerged plants
  • Emergent plants
  • Floating plants

Adaptations of Hydrophytes

  • Emergent hydrophytes (such as water lily and water hyacinth) have broad leaves with many stomata on the upper surface to increase transpiration.
  • Submergent hydrophytes (such as Ceratophyllum plants) have highly dissected leaves to increase surface area for photosynthesis and gaseous exchange.
  • Their leaves have numerous and sensitive chloroplasts that photosynthesize under low light intensity.
  • Have aerenchyma (large air-filled tissues) for buoyancy and gaseous exchange.
  • Aerenchyma tissue is also tolerant to ethanol produced during anaerobic respiration.
  • Their flowers are raised above the water to allow pollination.
  • Floating hydrophytes have long fibrous roots to absorb mineral salts.
  • Some have poorly developed roots to reduce absorption of water e.g. Salvinia
  • Others have poorly developed vascular bundles because they absorb water by diffusion e.g. Salvinia
  • Some have hairy and waxy leaves, hence waterproof to keep water away from the leaf surface.
  • Submerged hydrophytes (e.g. Elodea) have no stomata on their leaves. Oxygen produced by photosynthesis is stored in their aerenchyma tissues and used for respiration.
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