Just as amphibian animals can live on land or in water, there are also species of plants that can survive in both environments. These particular plants and trees have adapted to living in both environments and can be found in a variety of climates. Their sizes range from the very large, such as the baldcypress tree, to smaller plants like the American sponge plant.
There are 55 different species of mangroves that can be found in tropical and subtropical climates around the world. They grow on the banks of rivers, streams and lakes and can survive in regions where the temperature doesn't fall below 70 degrees F during the winter. Different species of mangroves can be found near fresh and salty water. The color of the bark and flowers also depends on the species. Cold temperatures can stunt their growth and development, but mature mangrove trees can grow to 50 feet in height. According to the Smithsonian Marine Station, white mangrove leaves produce sugars that may attract ants. This protects the leaves from being eaten by herbivore insects.
Baldcypress are large trees that live next to streams and rivers, as well as in swamps. In the U.S., this species of tree is found along the northeast and southeast coastline, as well as on the banks of the Mississippi River. The trees have brown or gray bark, green needle-like leaves and produce pine cones. Baldcypress trees can live for up to 600 years. They are not only very important to the ecology of their local habitat but are used to make furniture and other household items too. The trees provide food and shelter to many animals in the area, including birds, rabbits and deer.
Sponge plants are smaller plants that can grow either in water or on land. Although they are usually found at sea level, some sponge plants have been seen growing at over 9,000 feet above sea level. One species of sponge plant, the American sponge plant, is native to the southeastern U.S. and can be found along the Gulf and Atlantic coastlines up to Delaware. The plants can take root in mud or form mats of vegetation in the water. Sponge plants are very hardy and spread very quickly. Although they are used as ornamental plants in homes, in the wild they are an invasive species.
Mangrove image by Denis GELIN from Fotolia.com