WHAT IS AN EPIPHYTE?

What is an epiphyte?


An epiphyte is a specialist plant - mainly found in the tropics - that has evolved away from growing in the ground and has instead made its home up in the tree canopy.
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Epiphytic plants usually derive only physical support and not nutrition from their host - normally a tree, but man-made wooden structures may also be suitable depending on the epiphyte species - although they may sometimes physically damage the host in the process of anchoring to it.
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These specialist plants still use photosynthesis for energy, but some epiphytes - such as many of the orchids - have actually developed photosynthetic pigment within the roots!

They obtain moisture from the rain, damp air or cloud moisture that condenses on the surface of their hosts. In some species the roots - which are primarily used for attachment - have developed into specialized structures that can be used to collect or hold moisture.
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Plants from the bromeliad family produce leaves in a tightly packed rosette enabling them to hold a reservoir of water at the base. These tiny ponds can also support a second tier of life such as tiny frog species and aquatic insects.

It is believed that epiphytes have evolved to survive in the canopy because there is less plant competition, more available light, and they have a better chance of not being eaten by herbivores.

For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO GROW PUYA RAIMONDII - Queen Of The Andes
HOW TO GROW TILLANDSIA
SCHOMBURGKIA EXALTATA
THE FLYING DUCK ORCHID
THE SILVER VASE PLANT - Aechmea fasciata
WHAT IS CHLOROSIS?
WHAT IS AN EPIPHYTE?
.WHAT IS CHLOROSIS?

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