AL has a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources with studies in Botany and Zoology.
What are Mesophytes?
Mesophytes (Greek: mésos = middle, phuton = plant) are a large group of terrestrial or land plants which are suited to moderate climatic conditions that are neither too wet nor dry. Basically, if a plant is not adapted to survive extremely wet regions (Hydrophytes) or dry regions (Xerophytes) then it is most likely a mesophyte. This is why they are called the middle plants, they lie between xerophytes and hydrophytes, two plant groups adapted to opposite extreme climatic conditions or regions. The large group of mesophytes includes common trees, shrubs, herbs, crops, grasses, and most flowering plants. This also makes mesophytes the most common plant type around the world and are found in most flower gardens.
Mesophyte Plant Features
Mesophytes are not adapted to soils with extremely high or low moisture content this is because they do not have any specific morphological adaptations that enable them to survive these conditions. They usually have basic broad, flat, and green leaves, a well-branched stem, and a well-developed root system that can either be fibrous or taproots.
The basic structure of mesophytes makes them the intermediary group of plants that lies between plants adapted to extremely wet regions and plants that can survive in dry or arid regions. This group also includes the largest number of flowering plants that can produce flowers of different shapes and sizes, seeds, and fruits. Mesophytes are the most popular garden plants, and the most commonly known garden flowers.
Popular Mesophyte Flower Garden Plants
Mesophytes are a large group of plants, they include crops, trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, and flowers. It is, for this reason, most gardens will contain this group of plants. However, some mesophytic plants are more regular features of flower gardens than others.
Some common mesophytes include;
Roses (Rosa rubiginosa) are perhaps the most popular mesophyte ornamental garden plants found in most flower gardens. The name rose is derived from the Latin name rosa. In Old English, it was translated as Roese and RoheseIt which means "famous type". Rose flowers are popular flowers dating back over 35 million years with a variety of more than 300 different species, varying in size and colors. The most common colors include; red, white, yellow, and pink. The diverse range of rose flowers, their aesthetic beauty, and their fragrance make them a popular choice in most flower gardens.
The rose flower plant also has a wide range of symbolic meanings. It is sometimes used to symbolize love, beauty, purity, longevity, and in some cases, the thorns can be used to represent sin. It is, for this reason, roses have a strong cultural, religious, and social appeal dating back centuries. They are a common feature in literature, art, music, and movies. The wide range of symbolic meanings of the rose flower also makes it a very popular name or title for babies, pets, movies, songs, bands, sports teams, and even roads or buildings. Cleary, the rose flower plant is a must-have in any garden and the most popular mesophyte flower garden plant.
Daisies (Bellis perennis) are another group of mesophyte ornamental flower garden plants dating back 2,200 B.C when they were first recorded. Daisies were grown by ancient Egyptians around their temple gardens and used as herbal medicine. The name daisy, however, did not come from the ancient Egyptians, rather it came from Anglo-Saxon “daes eage,” meaning “day’s eye.” This is because daisies were used to cure eye problems.
Today, daisies are grown as ornamental flower garden plants. The common colors of daisies include white, red, blue, yellow, orange, purple, and pink. Unlike roses, daisies can be found almost anywhere, along the road, in the bushes, backyards, and even in park areas. They may not be as culturally well renowned as roses, but they are also a popular name choice for babies, toys, and household products.
The fame and popularity of daisies are, however, attributed to a centuries-old prophetic tradition of young ladies plucking the petals of daisies one by one, reciting, "He loves me, he loves me not." The last petal left is believed to be the prophetic answer. They are still considered prophetic flowers today and a great addition to any flower garden.
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is another popular mesophyte with the earliest recorded history showing its origins from North America around 1000 B.C. The name sunflower is a direct English translation of its Greek scientific name Helianthus annus (helios = sun and anthos = flower). Sunflowers are also one of the few flowers known to turn in order to face the Sun, a behavior known as heliotropism.
Sunflowers today are popular for the oil they produce, the consumed seeds, the flour from their kernels, and many other uses. However, they are also a very popular ornamental flower garden plant. The bright yellow flowers arranged in a circular pattern make the sunflower appear like the glowing sun. This makes a sunflower a very noticeable aesthetic feature in any flower garden. Other sunflower colors include rose, purple, pink, brown, and even shades of gold.
Sunflowers are popular in Greek mythology, and in China, they represent long life and good fortune. Native Americans considered them a symbol of great harvest, and they are the national flower of Russia. Sunflowers are indeed a great addition to any flower garden.
Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) also known as "Queen of Shrubs" is popularly known for its fragrance rather than its appearance. A mesophyte that belongs to the Oleaceae family which includes other species such as Olives and Jasmine. There are over 1000 varieties of lilacs today that come in different colors and fragrances. They are a very common ornamental garden flower due to their pleasant fragrance and noticeable colors which include purple, magenta, white, and pink.
Lilacs have a very deep historical and cultural significance that stretches across different time periods. The scientific name Syringa vulgaris is derived from Greek mythology. The story of Pan the god of the forest and fields that fell in love with a nymph named Syringa who turned herself into a lilac shrub because she was afraid of him.
Each lilac color also has a different symbolic meaning. White represents purity, magenta represents love, and purple represents spirituality. The fragrance from lilac flowers is very nostalgic due to its common applications in soaps, perfume, air fresheners, and many beauty products. Lilacs are always a welcome addition to a flower garden.
Tulips (Tulipa gesneriana) commonly known as garden tulips are well-known mesophyte ornamental garden plants from the lily family with over 100 species. The tulips are native to a vast area that includes Africa, Europe, and Central Asia. However, the plant was first cultivated commercially by the Turks as early as 1000A.D as ornamental plants. The name tulip is a Latinized version of the Turkish word for turban, "Tülbend" because of the perceived resemblance of the shape of a tulip flower to that of a turban.
Tulips gained global popularity in the 16th century when they started popping up in Europe. The Dutch loved the tulips, they considered them as a symbol of wealth. The worth of one tulip plant was more than most family's total incomes. This created rapid investment opportunities in cultivating the tulip plants. Unfortunately, with time, the tulip frenzy collapsed leaving a lot of would-be investors in financial ruin. The phrase "Tulipmania" is derived from the tulip trading frenzy of the 16th century and is used in financial terminology to refer to frenzied speculative trading today.
Tulips are still kept as ornamental garden plants today. The different species of tulips have different colors which include white, orange, red, yellow, pink, and purple. These colors have different symbolic meanings of love, happiness, confidence, royalty, and forgiveness. This is why tulips are popular valentine's gifts, wedding flowers, and flower garden plants.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is often confused with Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) because of their similar appearance and noticeable fragrance. Lavender is, however, a very different mesophyte plant. It dates back 2500 years with written records in ancient Greek and Roman. The name Lavender, however, is derived from the Latin word "lavare" meaning "to wash", this is because it was commonly used to scent water baths, hair, beds, and even clothes.
Lavender has a strange historical and religious significance. In the bible, It is believed that when Adam and Eve were removed from the garden of Eden they collected lavender with them. The woman that washed Jesus's feet also applied lavender-scented lotion on his feet. In Egyptian history, it is believed that Cleopatra used the lavender fragrance in her seductions of Julius Caesar.
Today, there are over 45 different species of lavender with over 500 varieties. Lavender is a very popular ornamental plant due to its beautiful flowers, lovely fragrance, and its many uses. The colors of the flowers range from white, blue, pink to many different shades of purple. Adding lavender plants to any flower garden is not only aesthetically pleasing but also adds a welcome fragrance.
Mesophyte Flower Gardens
Mesophytes are the most popular flower garden plants. They are not native habitats of extremely wet or dry areas thus, most human settlements fall in the native habitat of most mesophytes. Unlike hydrophytes which are dependent on aquatic environments or xerophytes which are adapted to dry environments, mesophytes are able to survive in moderate climatic conditions making them easier to keep in flower gardens. This also makes them the most widely distributed ornamental garden flowers.
The different cultural, religious, social, and historic significance of these flowers makes the garden a rich library of information, tales, folklore, myths, and stories from all over the world. A mesophyte flower garden is indeed a welcome addition to any home.
- Dyer, Mary H. “Mesophytic Plant Info – Learn About Mesophyte Environments.” Gardening Know How- Link to article.
- Ecological Anatomy (With Diagrams) | Botany Article Shared by Harika Gupta.
- Lawrence E., ed. (1999). Henderson's Dictionary of biological terms. London: Longman Group Ltd.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 AL
AL (author) from South Equator, East Pacific on July 29, 2021:
Thanks, Viet Doan.
Lilac and Lavender are very nostalgic because most people remember their fragrance in the garden, but very few people still have them. I also wish I could plant them too but unfortunately, I have not encountered the plants since my childhood days. However, they are a very common fragrance in a lot of products here, so not all is lost. Thanks again..
Viet Doan from Big Island, Hawaii on July 29, 2021:
Alas, how I wish I could plant lilac and lavender where I am! I had them in my garden many years ago where I used to live. I could vividly "smell" their fragrance from just looking at your photos! Thanks Al for writing a wonderful article about mesophytes.