Definitions for halophyteˈhæl əˌfaɪt
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
a plant that thrives in saline soil.
Origin of halophyte:
plant growing naturally in very salty soil
Any plant that tolerates an environment having a high salt content
Origin: halo- + -phyte
a plant found growing in salt marshes, or in the sea
A halophyte is a plant that grows in waters of high salinity, coming into contact with saline water through its roots or by salt spray, such as in saline semi-deserts, mangrove swamps, marshes and sloughs, and seashores. An example of a halophyte is the salt marsh grass Spartina alterniflora. Relatively few plant species are halophytes - perhaps only 2% of all plant species. The large majority of plant species are "glycophytes", and are damaged fairly easily by salinity. One quantitative measure of salt tolerance is the "total dissolved solids" in irrigation water that a plant can tolerate. Sea water typically contains 40 grams per litre of dissolved salts. Beans and rice can tolerate about 1-3 g/l, and are considered glycophytes. At the other extreme, Salicornia bigelovii grows well at 70 g/l of dissolved solids, and is a promising halophyte for use as a crop. Plants such as barley and the date palm can tolerate about 5 g/l, and can be considered as marginal halophytes. Adaptation to saline environments by halophytes may take the form of salt tolerance or salt avoidance. Plants that avoid the effects of high salt even though they live in a saline environment may be referred to as facultative halophytes rather than 'true', or obligatory, halophytes.
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