Difference between Hydrophytes, Mesophytes and Xerophytes

Based on their water requirements and adaptations, plants are divided into three major groups: (1) Hydrophytes, (2) Mesophytes, (3) Xerophytes and. Let us throw some light on the three types, hydrophytes, mesophytes and xerophytes and differentiate between them.

Hydrophytes

Plants that are adapted to live in aquatic environments are called hydrophytes. They might be fully submerged, partially submerged or floating in water. These plants have special adaptations that help them to survive in water.

All the aquatic plants have a spongy tissue that creates air spaces in stems, roots as well as leaves that allows exchange of air and other gases in the plant. They have floating leaves with long, fine and dissected petioles to prevent flooding of water. Stomata is absent in completely submerged plants and xylem vessels are poorly developed.

Example: Vallisneria and Hydrilla are totally submerged hydrophytes. Eicchornia and Azolla are floating hydrophytes. Ranunculus and Alisma are partially submerged hydrophytes.

Mesophytes

A majority of plants living on this planet are mesophytes. These are the plants that can survive in moderate environments that are neither particularly dry nor particularly wet. They thrive in soil that is not swamped in water and has moderate salt content and humidity.

They have well differentiated roots and shoots with a fully developed vascular system. They do not need any adaptations to survive. They have an exposed stomata on leaves that are flat, broad and green. They require moderate to less amounts of water. They grow fast and usually large. Their leaves have a cuticle with thin epidermis.

Example: corn, rose, clover, squash, etc.

Xerophytes

Plants that are adapted to survive in physiologically dry conditions are called xerophytes. They have special adaptations to prevent loss of water, and also store some water. Plants that store water are called succulents, e.g, cacti, agave. They have thick and fleshy stems that are able to store water. This water can be used whenever required.

Other adaptations in xerophytes include waxy coatings on leaves, dropping leaves during dry periods, folding or repositioning of leaves for sunlight absorption and hairy coverings on leaves.

Other examples of xerophytes include pineapple, Acacia, prickly pear and alfalfa.

Hydrophytes vs Mesophytes vs Xerophytes

Hydrophytes

Mesophytes

Xerophytes

Definition

Plants that can survive in aquatic environments are called hydrophytes.

Plants that can survive in moderate climates are called mesophytes.

Plants that can survive in physiologically dry conditions are called xerophytes.

Zone

In plenty of moisture and watery conditions.

Semi-arid zone

Arid zone

Adaptations Required

It requires a lot of adaptation.

It requires no adaptations.

It requires little adaptation.

Plant Structure

The plant structure is not well differentiated.

The plant is well differentiated into roots and shoots.

The plant is well differentiated into roots and shoots.

Presence of Cuticle

They lack cuticles.

They have thin cuticles.

They have thick cuticles to avoid loss of water.

Leaves

They have long fine dissected petioles.

They have large, broad green leaves.

They have fleshy leaves that are small.

Stomata

Stomata are usually absent.

They have exposed stomata on the leaf surfaces.

They have very less stomata that are sunken.

Examples

Vallisneria, hydrilla

Rose, squash

Cacti, agave

Explore BYJU’S Biology for more related topics.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between xerophytes and halophytes?

Xerophytes are plants that can survive in physiologically dry conditions, whereas halophytes are plants that can survive in high saline environments.

What is the difference between xerophytes and epiphytes?

Xerophytes are plants that can survive in extremely dry conditions, whereas epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants for support.

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