- Comparative studies of the stress-tolerant Arabidopsis ( Arabidopsis thaliana ) halophytic relative, Eutrema salsugineum , have proven a fruitful approach to understanding natural stress tolerance. Here, we performed comparative phenotyping of Arabidopsis and E. salsugineum vegetative development under control and salt-stress conditions, and then compared the metabolic responses of the two species on different growth platforms in a defined leaf developmental stage. Our results reveal both growth platform-dependent and -independent phenotypes and metabolic responses. Leaf emergence was affected in a similar way in both species grown in vitro but the effects observed in Arabidopsis occurred at higher salt concentrations in E. salsugineum . No differences in leaf emergence were observed on soil. A new effect of a salt-mediated reduction in E. salsugineum leaf area was unmasked. On soil, leaf area reduction in E. salsugineum was mainly due to a fall in cell number, whereas both cell number and cell size contributed to the decrease in Arabidopsis leaf area. Common growth platform-independent leaf metabolic signatures such as high raffinose and malate, and low fumarate contents that could reflect core stress tolerance mechanisms, as well as growth platform-dependent metabolic responses were identified. In particular, the in vitro growth platform led to repression of accumulation of many metabolites including sugars, sugar phosphates, and amino acids in E. salsugineum compared with the soil system where these same metabolites accumulated to higher levels in E. salsugineum than in Arabidopsis. The observation that E. salsugineum maintains salt tolerance despite growth platform-specific phenotypes and metabolic responses suggests a considerable degree of phenotypic and metabolic adaptive plasticity in this extremophile.