Flora - Adaptation of wetland flora

Alberi allagati

Erba vescica delle risaie

The mosaic of micro-habitats in the marshland means that the plant and animal species that live there must have evolved an incredible variety of adaptations and specialisations, both in shape and function.

For example, to survive in the lamina zone where the water is at its deepest, plants are equipped with light weight stalks full of air; in this way the large leaves they support can reach the surface and unfold so that they can photosynthesise.

Alternatively, they are completely submerged (except for the flowers); in this case their leaves are fringed to better resist the water currents.

Such extreme adaptive specialisations have on the one hand allowed different species to colonise all corners of the aquatic environment, on the other they have rendered them vulnerable to the slightest change in the habitat to such an extent that these species are dramatically falling in number and even disappearing.

This is why many wetland species of animals and plants are today under threat of extinction..