Information on Plants That Live in Water


At the beginning of time, all plants lived in water in unrecognizable forms. With the development of the ability to use sunlight for energy, plants evolved in a vast variety of forms---including a world of aquarian forms.


Aquatic and wetland plants provide oxygen for fish and animals that use water. They also anchor soil and help prevent excessive silting and erosion. Flowering plants lend color and attract insects that provide food for fish.


Aquatic plants live in water year-round. Wetland plants may live on dry land part of the year but a wetland must contain water for a portion of each season. Wetland plants may live in marshes, swamps or floodplains.

Submergent Plants

Plants that live in water may be submergent, living entirely below the surface. These plants live in most aquatic or wetland environments but need water all year long.

Floating Plants

Floating plants are rooted below the surface with leaves and, perhaps, flowers that float on the surface. They prefer the calm waters of ponds and marshes.

Emergent Plants

Emergent plants are versatile, growing in water, on shores or in areas with varying levels of water throughout the year. Although they require moist soil year-round, most flowering plants require full sun to perform well.


  • Offwell Woodland and Wildlife Trust:Plant Adaptations to Aquatic Life
  • Royal Botanic Gardens: Plant Evolution

Who Can Help

  • Mike Mountain Horse Elementary School: Types of Wetland Plants
  • Coastal Carolina University College of Natural and Applied Sciences: Plant Adaptations
Keywords: aquatic plants, water, water plants

About this Author

Chicago native Laura Reynolds has been writing for 40 years. She attended American University (D.C.), Northern Illinois University and University of Illinois Chicago and has a B.S. in communications (theater). Originally a secondary school communications and history teacher, she's written one book and edited several others. She has 30 years of experience as a local official, including service as a municipal judge.