One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tropical American plant that grows on trees as an epiphyte, with long, narrow leaves that absorb water and nutrients from the atmosphere.
Genus Tillandsia, family Bromeliaceae: several species, including Spanish moss
- ‘Apart from Spanish moss, epiphytic bromeliads include ball moss, Schultes northern needleleaf (with curved leaves) and southern needleleaf, and the rare spreading air plant.’
- ‘At the summits and on the western side, where high winds and cooler temperatures make growing conditions most severe, is a so-called elfin forest comprising dwarf, gnarly trees draped with epiphytes, or air plants, including orchids.’
- ‘The reason you can is that most popular cultivated orchids are epiphytes, or air plants, which most often grow on trees or the surfaces of rocks.’
- ‘Obviously, they've never seen the champion, festooned with hundreds of air plants and mistletoe and soaring to 55 feet with a trunk more than 4 feet in diameter.’
- ‘But, closely followed by the lovely bird sculptures with attached air plants that I have now twice been given by children known to me in a professional capacity.’
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