- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for epiphytic
Those are epiphytic orchids—air-plants, you know: they require no earth for their roots: they live on the air.
Among the plant-treasure from India, Australia and Malaya were large numbers of epiphytic orchids.
- a plant that grows on another plant but is not parasitic on it
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
Word Origin and History for epiphytic
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- 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
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