Definition of epiphyte in English:


Pronunciation /ˈepəˌfīt/ /ˈɛpəˌfaɪt/


  • 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.

    ‘Many tropical orchids are epiphytes, growing on the side of trees, and will not do well if their roots stay wet.’
    • ‘Flowering epiphytes - bromeliads, orchids and cacti - are presented most commonly.’
    • ‘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’.