Wetland areas have received considerable public attention over the last year or so and a case for research and conservation has been built on three main assumptions. They are that wetlands play an important role in marine productivity, provision of fish and bird habitats and in land stabilisation. A fourth consideration might be the intrinsic nature of the fauna and flora that inhabit such areas. The flora of wetland areas frequently have to survive tidal inundations with the accompanying problems of anoxia and elevated salinity. It is generally agreed that wetland flora have undergone selective change or ‘adaptation’ but how this has happened is difficult to determine. The enigma of how wetland plants persist, let alone grow, and reproduce in such apparently hostile conditions remains unsolved. No doubt, the answers lie in the study of the morphology, physiology and ecology of the various species. However, of increasing interest in whether such plants contain discrete units of genetic information relating to these characteristics that may be of vital interest in the genetic engineering of more economically important crop plants.