I want to start doing shorter posts once a month that describe different botanical terms and nomenclatures.
To start this off I want to help define the word: RIPARIAN
The definition from Oxford Languages states:
- relating to or situated on the banks of a river. “all the riparian states must sign an agreement”
2. relating to wetlands adjacent to rivers and streams. “the ranch’s most expansive riparian habitat”
I write a lot about riparian species on my blog, Most often Cottonwoods (Populus fremontii) as they are super common trees in my area. Sadly though, they really only thrive in spots where they have near unlimited access to water, like near a riverbank. I live in a high desert, however, and they really only thrive for the first few years of their lives if not planted near a river or other water source. After that, its year after year of broken branches, insect attack, epicormic growth and a downward spiral until the tree is dead.
Riparian trees and plants don’t grow when fully submerged in the water, riparian is not the same as aquatic. Unlike aquatic plants, riparian plants will drown if fully submerged for any length of time. The roots are often found very close, if not exposed on the surface for maximum oxygen collection, other roots grow deep into the soils to tap into the water column, hence the unlimited water aspect aforementioned earlier.
Some other groups of riparian plants are Willows, Dogwoods, some Maples, Columbines, Serviceberry, Alders, Birch, Aspens and Choke Cherries. Of course there are outliers for each species, and there are many more I have not mentioned.
This January keep and eye out for riparian plants in your area!