Key Difference – Hydrophytes vs Mesophytes vs Xerophytes
Hydrophytes, Mesophytes, and Xerophytes are plants that show adaptations to survive in their environments. The key difference between Hydrophytes, Mesophytes, and Xerophytes is that Hydrophytes are adapted to aquatic environments, Mesophytes are adapted to average water and average temperature environments and Xerophytes are adapted to dry habitats.
Plants grow in diverse environments including desserts. They show different adaptations to survive in those environments. Based on the environment they grow, plants can be categorized as hydrophytes, mesophytes, and xerophytes. Hydrophytes are the plants that live in water (sea, river, ponds, etc). Mesophytes are the terrestrial plants that live in an average supply of water and average temperature. Xerophytes are a type of extremophiles that live in dry habitats such as deserts etc.
What are Hydrophytes?
Plants growing in aquatic environments are known as hydrophytes. Hydrophytic plants can be seen in freshwater bodies as well as in marine environments. Hydrophytes show different adaptations to survive in water.
These adaptations include thin cuticle or no cuticle, presence of high number of stomata, stomata kept open all the time, simple plant structure, flat and broad leaves, leaves possessing air sacs, less roots density or no root system, roots are able to pick oxygen, feathery root system, etc.
What are Mesophytes?
Mesophytes are plants that grow in typically average conditions. Mesophytes are the terrestrial plants that we encounter on a daily basis. They are adapted to an adequate or average supply of water. And also they are able to live in average temperature conditions.
Mesophytes contain a well-developed root system. They possess large leaves and average lengthier cuticle. The stomata are located in the lower epidermis of the leaves.
What are Xerophytes?
Xerophytes are the plants that live in dry habitats. They are adapted to survive in an extremely limited water supply. Xerophytes can be seen in deserts.
Their adaptations include thick cuticle, small leaves with reduced leaf lamina, low stomata density, sunken stomata, stomatal hairs, rolled leaves, extensive roots, etc.
What is the Difference Between Hydrophytes Mesophytes and Xerophytes?
Hydrophytes vs Mesophytes vs Xerophytes
|Hydrophytes are plants that live in water.|
|Mesophytes are plants terrestrial plants that live in an average supply of water.|
|Xerophytes are plants that live in desserts.|
|Presence of a Cuticle|
|Hydrophytes lack a cuticle.|
|Mesophytes have a waxy cuticle.|
|Xerophytes have a thick cuticle.|
|Hydrophytes plant structure is simple.|
|Mesophytes have a well-developed plant structure.|
|Xerophytes have a well-developed plant structure.|
|Hydrophytes have flat and broad leaves that can float.|
|Mesophytes have large leaves.|
|Xerophytes have small and rolled leaves.|
|Hydrophytes have no roots or less dense roots.|
|Mesophytes have a well-developed root system.|
|Xerophytes have a well-developed large root system.|
|Hydrophytes have a higher number of stomata that are open always.|
|Mesophytes have sufficient amount of stomata the in the lower surface of the leaves.|
|Xerophytes have less number of stomata that are sunken in pits.|
|Water lily, lotus, wild rice etc are hydrophytes|
|Garden plants, herbs, agricultural plants, etc are mesophytes.|
|Catci, spines, cactus, conifers, etc are xerophytes.|
Summary – Hydrophytes vs Mesophytes vs Xerophytes
Hydrophytes, Mesophytes, and Xerophytes are plants that live in aquatic environments, terrestrial habitats that have moderate conditions and dry habitats respectively. They show different adaptations to survive in the habitat. This is the difference between hydrophytes, mesophytes, and xerophytes.
1.Dyer, Mary H. “Mesophytic Plant Info – Learn About Mesophyte Environments.” Gardening Know How, 4 Apr. 2018. Available here
2.“Aquatic Plant.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Apr. 2018. Available here
1.’623301’by LaMaLaMa55 (Public Domain) via pixabay
2.’Diego Garcia Mixed Species Marsh’By U.S. Navy – U.S. Navy NAVSUPFAC DIEGO GARCIA, Natural Resources Management Plan, 2005, (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
3.’Euphorbia-viros’By Muriel Gottrop – Own work, (CC BY-SA 1.0) via Commons Wikimedia