One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of a plant) growing on the surface of rock.
- ‘We have virtually no fossils of tropical fleshy algae, especially the small soft epilithic species that characterize primary productivity on modern reefs.’
- ‘This community is also characterized by a high epiphytic and epilithic cover.’
- ‘We investigated the importance of snowmelt as an organizing factor for epilithic microalgae in a high-altitude montane stream during 3 yr of differing melt characteristics.’
Early 20th century: from epi- ‘upon’ + Greek lithos ‘stone’ + -ic.
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