Plants & Mushrooms

Aquatic Plants – Definition, Types, and Importance

We all know plants are of different types. We have been made familiar with plants that are on land but what about the ones underneath the water? They are plants that are meant to live underwater. Aquatic plants are very fascinating and have unique characteristics.

aquatic plants

What are the Aquatic Plants?

Any type of plant or vegetation which lives and grows in water is called an aquatic plant. They are found in all types of water whether seawater or freshwater. For instance, you can see them in oceans, rivers, lakes, ponds and more.

Just like aquatic animals that have unique characteristics, aquatic plants also have features which the terrestrial plants do not possess.

Importance of Aquatic Plants

Usually, we refer to these aquatic plants as ‘submerged macrophytes’. It is essential to learn their importance. Though they may not be seen in our daily lives, nonetheless, they carry great importance. They are quite an essential part of the aquatic ecosystem.

Furthermore, they provide oxygen to the animal species living underwater. It is very important for their metabolic processes. Moreover, they also supply food to some of the species of animals living underwater. For instance, the turtles eat the algae present in freshwater pond surfaces.

While some remain underwater, some of the aquatic plants float above the surface of freshwater. Their stems and roots allow them to remain firmly affixed despite strong currents. For instance, moss clings on to rocks.

Aquatic Plant Nourishment

It does not matter if they are terrestrial plants or aquatic, all of them need sunlight, soil, water and gases for surviving. Photosynthesis helps the plants in preparing food. They need the sunlight for that. Moreover, the soil helps in holding their roots.

The terrestrial plants need Carbon Dioxide to power the process of photosynthesis. However, the aquatic plants have evolved beyond that. They make do with dissolved Carbon Dioxide that is present in the water. Finally, water is very essential to complete this process of photosynthesis.

Diverse Kinds of Water Plants

Just like any other plants types, aquatic plants are also divided into four groups essentially. They divide into:

Algae

They are the most common type of aquatic plants. You can find them in oceans as they have no roots, leaves or stems. They are really small and important part of the ocean food chain. For instance, Lyngby and musk grass are algae.

Floating Plants

These plants are not fixed to the bottom of the water. However, they do have roots that absorb the water. You can find them in fresh or saltwater. Their leaves are firm and remain flat to absorb more sunlight. For instance, lilies and water hyacinth are aquatic plants.

Submerged Plants

These types of aquatic plants are rooted in the water’s floor. Most of the vegetation of this plant is found underwater. They have thin and narrow leaves. For instance, hydrilla’s and bog moss are submerged plants.

Emergent Plants

We also refer to them as emersed plants. They are rooted to the ground of the water, however, most of its vegetation is above water instead of the soil. They require constant sunlight. For instance, knotweed and redroot are emergent plants.

Solved Question on Aquatic Plants

Question- Which of the following is not an aquatic plant?

A. Emergent plants
B. Floating Plants
C. Ricinus communis
D. Algae

Answer– The correct answer is option C. Ricinus communis is a much-branched, short-lived perennial plant with stout, hollow stems that are more or less woody. It is a fast-growing plant in the wild, where it can grow up to 12 meters tall; in cultivation, it is usually smaller, and rarely exceeds 4 meters.

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