Definition of epiphyte in English:



  • A plant that grows on another plant but is not parasitic, such as the numerous ferns, bromeliads, air plants, and orchids growing on tree trunks in tropical rainforests.

    • ‘Flowering epiphytes - bromeliads, orchids and cacti - are presented most commonly.’
    • ‘Many tropical orchids are epiphytes, growing on the side of trees, and will not do well if their roots stay wet.’
    • ‘A cool, bright spot out of direct sun is best for these tropical epiphytes that grow naturally in rain-forest trees.’
    • ‘Those plants which live as epiphytes in the rainforest canopy are subject to intense light and drying winds.’
    • ‘The epiphytes hanging from the tree branches are either bromeliads or orchids.’


Mid 19th century: from epi- in addition + Greek phuton plant.