The distinction between aquatic and terrestrial plants is often blurred because many terrestrial plants are able to tolerate periodic submersion and many aquatic species have both submersed and emersed forms. There are relatively few obligate submersed aquatic plants (species that cannot tolerate emersion for even relatively short periods), but some examples include members of Hydrocharitaceae and Cabombaceae, Ceratophyllum, and Aldrovanda, and most macroalgae (e.g. Chara and Nitella). Most aquatic plants can, or prefer to, grow in the emersed form, and most only flower in that form. Many terrestrial plants can tolerate extended periods of inundation, and this is often part of the natural habitat of the plant where flooding is common. These plants (termed helophytes) tolerate extended periods of waterlogging around the roots and even complete submersion under flood waters. Growth rates of helophytes decrease significantly during these periods of complete submersion and if water levels do not recede the plant will ultimately decline and perish.
- "Definition of TERRESTRIAL". www.merriam-webster.com. Archived from the original on 21 September 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- Brock, T. C. M., G. van der Velde & H. M. van de Steeg, 1987. The effects of extreme water level fluctuations on the wetland vegetation of a nymphaeid-dominated oxbow lake in The Netherlands. Archiv fur Hydrobiologie, Ergebnisse der Limnologie 27: 57–73.