The Ittiz Swamp is especially salty and during the dry months is quite arid, due to the fact that the river that feeds it flows through the desert. The rust weed developed to grow in these conditions and does so very well. This plant grows in small tangled tufts which hold water well during the dry seasons. To make itself more sturdy and hardy, the rust weed metabolizes iron oxide out of the ground and uses it to build internal iron structures. It also uses the oxide to coat the surfaces of its leaves and branches to prevent too much water from escaping due to osmosis. This coating gives it a reddish-purple coloration.