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Definition of "epiphyte" [ep•i•phyte]

  • A plant, such as a tropical orchid or a staghorn fern, that grows on another plant upon which it depends for mechanical support but not for nutrients. Also called aerophyte, air plant. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "epiphyte" in a sentence
  • "'epiphyte' (_i. e._, a plant growing on other plants,) "forms dense festoons among the branches of the trees, vegetating among the black mould that collects upon the bark of trees in hot damp countries; other species are inhabitants of deep and gloomy forests, and others form, with their spring leaves, an impenetrable herbage in the Pampas of Brazil.""
  • "Tillandsia is an epiphyte, a plant that derives its nutrients not from where it is planted but from the air."
  • "A botanist scaled a tree trunk to a height of three meters, and scraped from the trunk a sample of the tiny epiphyte for genetic sequencing."