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Amazon epiphytes EPIPHYTES ON TREES Amazon epiphytes

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Tall forest giants provide a unique habitat for other plants. In an environment where every plant must fiercely compete for light, some forgo the trouble to make a large trunk and instead hitch a ride on larger plants. Plants that live on other plants are called "epiphytes." True epiphytes draw no sustenance from their host, but simply use it as a way to reach light. But the "high life" is not so easy. It is hot and dry, as there's little shade and rain evaporates rapidly. Different types of epiphytes deal with this in various ways. Orchids have "pseudobulbs" that store water, bromeliads have tanks of water in the rosette form by their leaves and philodendrons send long trailing roots down below the canopy. These plants typically have thick, waxy leaves to minimize water loss. Ferns and mosses can survive almost completely drying out. Despite the difficulties, epiphytes crowd upon the branches of tall trees—here grows a forest within forest. When they get so abundant, an old tree's branches may break under the weight.

Click below for epiphytes photos and natural history information:

epiphytes on tree photo (1) epiphytes on tree photo (2) epiphytes on mountain tree photo epiphyte diversity

Click for vines on tree photo (1) Click for vines on tree photo (1) vines on trees

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