Plants That Live Near Rivers

Only certain plants can grow by rivers and thrive in constantly moist soil.
Only certain plants can grow by rivers and thrive in constantly moist soil. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Rivers are generally freshwater bodies of moving water, and these waterways usually flow towards another body of water, including other rivers, lakes, oceans or seas. Rivers collect water from runoff, rain, springs and groundwater. These waters have their own ecosystems, including plants that grow either in the water or near to it. Plants located near waterways are adapted to the moist soils and will not drown from overwatering.

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Hibiscus

The marsh hibiscus grows within the marshes bordering both saltwater and freshwater bodies, including rivers. These plants create a five pointed bloom, ranging from pink to white, and the center of the flower is burgundy. This hibiscus blooms from late spring to early fall, and it is a perennial. It can grow up to seven feet tall, and the flower is usually between six and eight inches wide. The leaves of this hibiscus are arrow shaped with a velvet feeling base, and their color ranges from green to gray. The marsh hibiscus is hardy from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Zones 5 through 9.

Wild Rice

Wild rice is a type of grass that grows around rivers and lakes, and it is found throughout the United States. This plant is edible, and it is generally found I the shallow waters around waterways. The stalks of the plant are long, thin and light green. The bloom is located at the end of the stalk, and the color is usually white to pinkish. The blooms also have a feathery look to them, and the actual rice is brown to blackish in color.

Redbud

The redbud is a small tree found alongside different waterways, and it requires moist, well-drained soil to thrive. This tree creates small flowers, ranging in color from purple to white to pink, and it blooms during the spring. During the summer, the redbud creates very dark, green leaves. This tree can grow up to 30 feet tall and 25 feet wide, and it thrives in USDA Zones 4 through 9. The redbud grows very slowly.

Rushes

Rushes have tall, thin green stalks that stick out of the shallow marshes where they usually live. The blooms are located at the end of the stalk, and these flowers range in color from brown to green to red. It creates a fruit capsule, which you can gather and use for reseeding. The rush leaves are very small, usually round and flat. Rushes get between two and three feet tall, and they thrive in USDA Zones 3 through 7.

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