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ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS

WITH ADAPTATIONS

Guide:
Prof. A. Vora

LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
INTRODUCTION
Plant Ecology is the study of relationships between plants and their physical environment.
•The term ‘Oekologie’ was coined by Ernst Haekel for study of habitat of a species of community of species.

The functional arrangement of plants and surrounding environment with


regular interaction and interdependence is ECOSYSTEM.

For purpose of description & ecological studies, plant communities are classified into units like:
Formation Fully developed plant community in a given climatic zone. It is a major unit comprising of
climax communities of an area, and uniform in major physiognomic features. It is said to be a closed formation as
plants are very close together.
Association is a major sub-division of formation. Formation may have one or more associations,
depending upon the sub-climates. Each association has uniform physiognomy and floristic constitution.
Consociation is a smaller unit having a single dominant species.
Faciation is a unit having several dominants.
Society is a part of association, consociation or faciation having one or more sub-dominant
species. Lower storey & ground cover constitute society.

LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
CLASSIFICATION

Plants are usually classified into ecological units based on the characteristics evolved in
order to survive in a particular ecosystem. This is known as ecological classification.

The basic classification is based on water requirement and plants are classified as
hydrophytes, hygrophytes, mesophytes & xerophytes.

The suffix -phyte is used primarily as a tool in botany to form words used for categorizing
plants based on their evolutionary origin, life-history, growth-form or ecological
preferences.

The suffix has been used in particular to form names of subdivisions of the plants and
algae and to name the life-form groupings of the Raunkiær system.

LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
CLASSIFICATION
Shores

•An actophyte is a plant found growing on rocky shorelines

•An aigiaphyte is a plant found growing on beaches or strandlines

Mountains

•An acrophyte is an alpine plant

•A chasmophyte is a plant tolerant of or adapted to growing on vertical cliff faces

•A coniferophyte is a conifer

•An orophyte is a plant inhabiting hills and mountains

•A lithophyte is a plant growing on rock or on rocky soil

LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
CLASSIFICATION

Sand

•An amathophyte is a plant found growing on sand-plains

•An ammochthophyte is a plant found growing on sand-banks

•An anemophyte is a "blow-out" plant i.e. a plant found growing in hollows created by
wind in sand-dunes

•A xerophyte is a plant adapted to survive in very dry situations

•A tropophyte is a plant adapted to climatic conditions in which periods of heavy rainfall


alternate with periods of drought

Salt

•A glycophyte is a plant adapted to nonsaline soil

•A drimyphyte is a salt-plant

•A halophyte is a plant which is tolerant of saline conditions, or adapted to a saline soil or


soil influenced by salt water
LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
CLASSIFICATION
Sun

•A sciophyte is a plant which thrives in or tolerates shade

•A heliophyte is a plant which thrives in or tolerates full sunlight

•The term ombrophyte has two meanings:


1. a plant which thrives in or tolerates shade
2. a plant capable of withstanding a lot of rain

Human

•An agrophyte is an agricultural plant

•An anecophyte is a plant found only in human-created habitats throughout its range-
many arable weeds fall into this category

•An apophyte is a native plant that has invaded abandoned fields

LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
CLASSIFICATION
Minerals

•A calciphyte is a plant which thrives in, or is adapted to living in soils rich in calcium
carbonate

•A cuprophyte is a plant which is adapted to living in, or tolerant of, soils with high copper
levels

•A pseudometallophyte is a plant which can tolerate (but does not require) a substrate
with a high metal content

•A metallophyte is a plant which is tolerant of substrates with a high metal content

•A gypsophyte is a plant adapted to chalk or limestone

LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
CLASSIFICATION

Raunkier

•A chamaephyte is a low-growing perennial plant whose living structures are therefore


visible all year round and whose dormant overwintering buds are borne at or just above
the surface of the ground

•A chamerophyte is a herbaceous or woody plant which has its overwintering buds at or


just above the soil surface

•A cryptophyte is a plant in which the buds are covered with soil or water (geophytes,
helophytes and hydrophytes are all classes of cryptophyte). Cryptophyte also refers to
the cryptomonads, a group of single-celled algae

•A hemicryptophyte is a herbaceous plant which has its wintering buds at or just above
the soil surface

•A therophyte is a plant which survives between favourable seasons in the form of a


seed

LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
CLASSIFICATION
Water

•The term hydrophyte has two meanings:


o a free-floating water plant o a plant adapted to high moisture levels

•An amphiphyte is an amphibious plant

•An ancophyte is a canyon plant

•A benthophyte is a plant living at the bottom of a body of water or in the bed of a river

•A benthopheustophyte is any large plant resting freely on the floor of a lake but capable
of drifting slowly with the lake's currents

•A hydrogeophyte is a geophyte which grows in aquatic environments (e.g. water lilies)

•A plotophyte is a floating plant, with stomata on its upper leaf surface only

•An oceanophyte is a plant growing in the ocean

•A helophyte is a marsh plant

•A hydrotherophyte is an aquatic therophyte


LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
CLASSIFICATION
Soil

•An oxyphyte is a plant growing in soil which lacks oxygen

•An oxylophyte is a plant adapted to acid soils

•A phreatophyte is a deep-rooted plant that obtains water from a permanent ground


supply or from the water table (or soil above it)

•A hygrophyte is a plant which thrives in very wet soil and/or is more or less restricted to
moist sites

•An aerophyte is a plant which obtains all of its nourishment from the air

LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
CLASSIFICATION
Other

•A mesohydrophyte is a plant whose tolerance to moisture is intermediate between that


of a mesophyte (q.v.) and a hydrophyte

•A mesophyte is a plant adapted to medium moisture levels (c.f. hydrophyte, xerophyte)

•A mesoxerophyte is a plant whose tolerance to moisture is intermediate between that of


a mesophyte (q.v.) and a xerophyte

•An aiphyllophyte is a plant found growing in evergreen forests

•An aithalophyte is a plant found growing in evergreen thickets

•An alsophyte is a grove plant

•A bathyphyte is a plant found typically or exclusively in lowlands

•A dissophyte - not to be confused with dyssophyte - is a plant whose shoots are


xerophytic (q.v.), but whose roots are mesophytic

•A dyssophyte - not to be confused with dissophyte - is a plant which can behave either
as a hydrophyte (q.v.) or an epiphyte (q.v.)
LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
HYDROPHYTE
•Aquatic plants — also called hydrophytes — are plants
that have adapted to living in or on aquatic
environments.
•Because living on or under the water surface requires
numerous special adaptations, aquatic plants can only
grow in water or permanently saturated soil.
•Aquatic vascular plants can be ferns or angiosperms
(from both monocot and dicot families). Seaweeds are
not vascular plants but multicellular marine algae, and
therefore not typically included in the category, "aquatic
plants."
•As opposed to plants types such as mesophytes and
Victoria regina the Royal water lily - the massive globular protruding rib-
xerophytes, hydrophytes do not have a problem in like structures (the major veins of the leaf) support the otherwise huge,
retaining water due to the abundance of water in its thin leaf blade.
environment. This means the plant has less need to
regulate transpiration.
•Remaining afloat is one of the major problems in an
hydrophytes life - gaseous exchange too, is important,
In order to facilitate these functions, hydrophytes tend
to develop large intercellular spaces, which may be
subdivided to prevent free movement of large air
bubbles, by forming complexes of cells, which become
effective bubble barriers.

Elodea has a large proportion of the Aerenchyma help the plant to


stem occupied by structured stay float
airspaces, which are separated from
one another by nodal plates.
LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
HYDROPHYTE

Hydrophytes share several survival characteristics:

•A thin (or no) cuticle. The primary function of


cuticles is to prevent water loss, thus most
hydrophytes have no need for cuticles.

•Stomata that are open most of time: water is


abundant. This means that guard cells on the
stomata are generally inactive.

•An increased number of stomata, that can be on


either side of leaves.

•A less rigid structure: water pressure supports


them.

•Large flat leaves on surface plants for flotation.

•Air sacs for flotation.


The submerged aquatic leaf is simple, (upper diagram)
•Smaller roots: water can diffuse directly into leaves. and only three cells thick, whilst the floating leaf (lower
diagram) contains numerous intercellular airspaces and
has a columnar mesophyll arrangement.
•Feathery roots: no need to support the plant.

•Specialized roots designed to take in oxygen.

•Large intercellular spaces to reduce weight.

LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
MESOPHYTE
•Mesophytes are plants that have an adequate water
supply.
•Such plants have some xeromorphic features in order
that they should conserve enough water such as a
cuticle, stomata with regulable diameter, and a greater
number of stomata on the undersides of leaves, but
lack others, meaning they do not retain too much
water. Because of their lack of particular adaptation,
when they are exposed to extreme conditions they do
not survive well.
•Mesophytes have to contend with a number of issues
which will directly and indirectly exert effects upon their
physiology.
•For example, high light intensities, diurnal temperature
ranges, water stress and nutrient status are perhaps
some of the most important.
•Light intensity, temperature and water availability will Temperate Wood tends
Tropical Wood has
govern the day to day life of the plant and will affect the large-diameter vessels
more towards smaller
diameter conducting
structure (morphology and anatomy) of the plant itself. elements, and some may
show seasonal size
•The vascular system has to become well developed in change (large in spring,
order to ensure survival. smaller in autumn).

•Vascular development is various and in some


instances, very complex.
•Wood formation for example, is governed by the
climate prevailing where the specimen grows.

LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
MESOPHYTE
•In hot weather they may overheat and suffer from
temperature stress. They have no specific adaptations
to overcome this, but, if there is enough water in the
soil to allow this, they can increase their rate of
transpiration by opening their stomata, thus meaning
some heat is removed by the exiting water.

•In dry weather they may suffer from water stress


(losing more water via transpiration than can be gained
from the soil). Again they have no specific adaptations
to overcome this, and can only respond by closing their
stomata to prevent further dehydration. Their cells are
thus likely to lose turgidity. This may cause the plants
cells to become plasmolysed, prompting wilting. Wilting
does actually have some benefits as it reduces the leaf
surface area exposed to the atmosphere, meaning it
reduces transpiration, and that exposed to solar
radiation, meaning temperature stress is reduced.
Although mesophytes often recover from such wilting,
prolonged periods of it can lead to permanent wilting or
cell plasmolysis and subsequently death.

•Aerial parts like leaves & stem have cuticle to reduce


water loss & protect internal tissues from heat.

LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
HYGROPHYTE
•Plants growing in persistent moist conditions are hygrophytes.
•Eg. Deep water courses, shaded depressions of hills
•They exhibit poor development of roots & vascular tissues.
•Leaves are large, green, shining and fully expanded with
numerous stomata in order to make fullest use of available
sunlight, which is less in shady places.
•Eg. Ferns.

LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY
REFERENCES

•Kumar Ashok, Botany in forestry & environment, Kumar Media 2001


•Vartapetian Boris et al, Plant Adaptations to Anaerobic Stress, Review
•www.wikipedia.com
•www.envfor.nic.in
•www.gujaratforest.nic.in
•www.forest.ap.nic.in
•www.anubis.ru.ac.za
•www.desertmuseum.org
•www.desertusa.com
•www.natureserve.org

LA – 8106 ARJUN SHARMA LA – 9106 SANDIP PATIL ECOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS -BOTANY