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.
- ep·i·phyt·ic [ep-uh-fit-ik], /ˌɛp əˈfɪt ɪk/, ep·i·phyt·i·cal, adjective
- ep·i·phyt·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use epiphyte in a sentence
Any fig that begins life as an epiphyte is called a banyan, technically part of the subgenus Urostigma, and includes the well-known strangler figs.
This unique beginning means stranglers literally start life as an epiphyte with adequate light, eventually sending down roots to absorb water and nutrients below.
Spicer points out, however, that a sharing of water and nutrients also occurs among other epiphytes.These ferns may be first plants known to work together as ants do | Jake Buehler | July 1, 2021 | Science News For Students
“The epiphyte lifestyle certainly facilitates group living, and group living is where all social stories start,” says Brian Whyte, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley also not involved with this research.These ferns may be the first plants known to share work like ants | Jake Buehler | June 7, 2021 | Science News
But the drawing-room epiphyte is nothing if she is not young—which is synonymous with power to interest and amuse.The Girl of the Period and Other Social Essays, Vol. II (of 2) | Eliza Lynn Linton
Aërides, Saccolabiums, and Vandas seem to be exceptions, as they represent the highest development of the epiphyte.Orchids | James O'Brien
Here and there a splash of white or crimson marked the blooming of some trailing epiphyte.The Island of Doctor Moreau | H. G. Wells
This epiphyte, too, is very different in structure from wheat-rust.Science and Practice in Farm Cultivation | James Buckman
One is purely an epiphyte, growing attached to a tree like many of the orchids.Tropic Days | E. J. Banfield
British Dictionary definitions for epiphyte
a plant that grows on another plant but is not parasitic on it
- epiphytic (ˌɛpɪˈfɪtɪk), epiphytal or 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
Scientific definitions for epiphyte
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 (ĕp′ə-fĭt′ĭk)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.