Epiphytes are organisms that evolved using their roots or trichomes to absorb moisture and nutrients from the air. Many epiphytes use their roots as “holdfasts” to attach to trees, bushes or rocks. Examples are moss, orchids, staghorn ferns, bromeliads and tillandsias. These should not be confused with parasitic plants, such as dodder, mistletoe and striga which need a host plant to survive.

Staghorn Fern (Platycerium) attached to tree.

Parasitic plant Dodder (Cuscuta) overtaking a host plant.

Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides).

Bromeliad (Bromeliaceae) planted in soil.

You’ll find most epiphytes don’t grow in soil but there are a few that do; e.g. some bromeliad and tillandsia species. However they still rely on receiving their moisture and nutrients from the air.

Well that’s our quick note on Epiphytes. Click the references below if you’re interested in learning more.

Thank you for reading!




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