What Are Mesophytes: Information And Types Of Mesophytic Plants

Garden in Bordeaux, France
Image by Lagui

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

What are mesophytes? Unlike hydrophytic plants, such as water lily or pondweed, that grow in saturated soil or water, or xerophytic plants, such as cactus, that grow in extremely dry soil, mesophytes are ordinary plants that exist between the two extremes.

Mesophytic Plant Info

Mesophytic environments are marked by average to hot temperatures and soil that is neither too dry nor too wet. Most mesophytic plants don’t do well in soggy, poorly drained soil. Mesophytes commonly grow in sunny, open areas such as fields or meadows, or shady, forested areas.

Although they are sophisticated plants with a number of highly evolved survival mechanisms, mesophytic plants have no special adaptations for water or for extreme cold or heat.


Mesophytic plants have rigid, sturdy, freely-branched stems and fibrous, well-developed root systems – either fibrous roots or long taproots. The leaves of mesophytic plants have a variety of leaf shapes, but they are generally flat, thin, relatively large and green in color. During hot weather, the waxy cuticle of the leaf surface protects the leaves by trapping moisture and preventing rapid evaporation.

Stomata, small openings on the undersides of the leaves, close in hot or windy weather to prevent evaporation and minimize water loss. Stomata also open to allow intake of carbon dioxide and close to release oxygen as a waste product.

Most typical garden plants, herbs, agricultural crops and deciduous trees are mesophytic. For example, the following plants are all types of mesophytic plants, and the list goes on and on:

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