Plants that had rather Phyte than switch habits and habitats

Throughout the years, we’ve failed with many plants, some, simply by not realizing that some plants have very specific habitat preferences. The vast majority of plants can grow equally as well in the same, well-amended soil, with a pH around 6.0-6.2. The Latin root is used to describe those with a more specific preference or “phyte”, pronounced fight. Phytes are either obligate (requiring), or facultative (preferring, but optional). Here are some of the more common phytes and plant(s) that represents each. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single list of plants that fit in each “phyte” category, but we hope this will help.

*Calciphyte (lime loving plants) *Chasmophyte (crevice growing plants) *Epilithic Lithophyte (grow on rocks)
*Epiphyte (grows on another plant) *Halophyte (salty soil plants) *Hemicryptophyte (perennials whose buds are located at ground level during dormancy) *Hydrophyte (aquatic plants) *Hygrophyte (water adapted plants) *Macrophyte (grows in or around water) *Psammophyte (grows in sandy, unstable soils) *Thermophyte (heat loving plants) *Xerophyte (dry loving plants)

Aquilegia canadensis (calciphyte)
Erigeron pulchellus ‘Meadow Muffin’ (calciphyte)
Athamanta turbith v. haynaldii (chasmophyte)
Digitalis laevigata (chasmophyte)
Origanum sipyleum (chasmophyte)
Sempervivum ‘Silber Karneol’ (chasmophyte)
Cyclamen persicum (chasmophyte)
Cheilanthes wootonii (chasmophyte)
Bommeria hispida ‘Gila Dwarf’ (chasmophyte)
Asplenium trichomanes var. quadrivalens (chasmophyte)
Carex fraseriana (possible chasmophyte)
Tillandsia usneoides (epiphyte) – Spanish moss
Epidendrum conopseum (epiphyte)
Pleopeltis michauxiana on tree (epiphyte)
Pleopeltis michauxiana on rock (also an epilithic lithophyte)
Astrolepis sinuata (Epilithic Lithophyte)
Pleione ‘Alishan’ (Facultative Epilithic Lithophyte)
Panicum virgatum ‘Gunsmoke’ (halophyte)
Crambe maritima (halophyte)
Goniolimon ‘Salt Spray’ (halophyte)
Typha latifolia ‘Variegata’ (hydrophyte + macrophyte)
Paeonia ‘Coral Charm (Hemicryptophyte)
Nelumbo (hydrophyte)
Peltandra virginica ‘Purpliscious’ (hygrophyte)
Sarracenia x leucopurea ‘Fiona’ (hygrophyte)
Acorus gramineus ‘Minimus Aureus’ (macrophyte)
Ephedra sinica (Psammophyte)
Adiantum capillus-veneris (thermophyte, macrophyte)
Trichocereus ‘Love Child’ (xerophyte)
Agave parryi ssp. huachucensis ‘Excelsior’ (xerophyte)

5 thoughts on “Plants that had rather Phyte than switch habits and habitats”

  1. Wow! Thanks for the primer, Tony. That explains why my Panicum were unharmed when the tidal surge breached the seawall last year! They were probably delighted with the salt bath.

  2. Lynda B. Waldrep

    Loved all th photos, but the information would be more helpful in a listing, rather than having to scroll through thr entire article. Thanks, anyway.

  3. Carolyn Berube

    Wow, what great information. It should be included in every plant description. Many times I don’t know why a plant dies.

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