1. Roots of emergent macrophytes depend on oxygen transported from aerial parts by diffusion and, in some species, by pressurised ventilation. The aim of this study was to determine if species with pressurised ventilation grow in deeper water in situ than species lacking this ability.
2. Species with pressurised ventilation grew significantly deeper than species lacking pressurised ventilation, and this was true in substrates with low as well as high redox potential.
3. Two species with low or non-detectable flow rates (Schoenoplectus lacustris and Equisetum fluviatile, respectively) were found in unexpectedly deep water. Thus, pressurised ventilation is not a prerequisite for growth in deep water. It is, however, suggested that species with pressurised ventilation have a competitive advantage in deep water resulting in long-term competitive exclusion of species lacking pressurised ventilation.