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[ep-uh-fahyt] /ˈɛp əˌfaɪt/
noun, Botany.
a plant that grows above the ground, supported nonparasitically by another plant or object, and deriving its nutrients and water from rain, the air, dust, etc.; air plant; aerophyte.
Origin of epiphyte
First recorded in 1840-50; epi- + -phyte
Related forms
[ep-uh-fit-ik] /ˌɛp əˈfɪt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
epiphytical, adjective
epiphytically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for epiphyte


a plant that grows on another plant but is not parasitic on it
Derived Forms
epiphytic (ˌɛpɪˈfɪtɪk), epiphytal, epiphytical, adjective
epiphytically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for epiphyte

1816 (implied in epiphytous), from epi- "upon" + -phyte "plant."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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epiphyte in Science
A plant that grows on another plant and depends on it for support but not food. Epiphytes get moisture and nutrients from the air or from small pools of water that collect on the host plant. Spanish moss and many orchids are epiphytes. Also called aerophyte, air plant.

epiphytic adjective (ěp'ə-fĭt'ĭk)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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