How Do Plants Survive in Salt Water?

Written by mary osborne
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How Do Plants Survive in Salt Water?
Some plants thrive in salt water. ( Images)

Some plants can effectively tolerate the large amounts of sodium chloride in salt water. These plants thrive under the salty environments of estuaries, salt marshes and the seashore's constant ocean mist. Plants adapted to living in salty environments, called halophytes, share a few strategies for coping with salt.

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Salt Gland Adaptations

The world's tidal salt marshes are home to a number of plant species that use special glandular cells to trap and secrete excess salt from the plant's organs, according to UCLA's Botanical Garden website. Salt concentrates in these glands, evaporates and is borne away by the wind and rain.

Secreting Salt From Leaves

Other plant adaptations involve secreting excess salt through the plant's leaves. Mangroves and other plant species in mangrove swamps secrete so much salt, according to the National University of Singapore, that a person can easily see and taste the salt on the backs of leaves among certain species, such as the Kacang-kacang or the Api-api.

Bladder Cells

Balloon-like bladder cells in plants such as the saltbush cover the surface of each leaf, trapping salt and then eliminating it when the cell ruptures. In "Life: The Science of Biology," written by David Sadava, et al, plants with bladder cells are described as having better success with pulling water up through their roots. The salt covering their leaves also helps reduce the loss of water into the atmosphere.

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