For saltmarsh and mangrove plants it would seem that “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”. In addition to the problems that all plants face in growing in natural multispecies communities coastal halophytes are presented with especial challenges inherent in intertidal environments. These include:
• High, and variable, soil water salinity;
• Soil conditions which may be anaerobic for long periods;
• Mechanical problems associated with tidal movement.
These may be particularly important in seedling establishment and the tidal scouring of newly germinated seedlings is probably a major factor preventing the seaward spread of a number of species.
The majority of research on adaptation of halophytes to their environment has been with respect to salinity problems while other aspects of the saltmarsh environment, especially the anaerobic soil conditions, have been comparatively neglected.
The presence of high salt concentrations in the root environment might be expected to influence both the ionic and water balance of plants. The ionic constitution of the soil solution is likely to be very different from that required for optimal plant nutrition; halophytes are thus faced with the problem of obtaining sufficient nutrient ions from a solution dominated by ions which are not required in large amounts for plant nutrition and which might even become toxic if present in the cytoplasm in large amounts. In addition the presence of salt in the soil solution will cause a lowering of the soil water potential (that is to say the soil solution will have a high osmotic pressure). If plants are to be able to absorb water from such a solution then the water potential of the plant tissue must be lowered still.
How to Cite:
Adam, P. and Wiecek, B.M., 2010. The salt glands of Samolus Repens. Wetlands Australia, 3(1), pp.2–11. DOI: http://doi.org/10.31646/wa.66