Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A plant, such as a tropical orchid or a staghorn fern, that grows on another plant upon which it depends for mechanical support but not for nutrients. Also called aerophyte, air plant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A plant that grows on another, using it as a physical support but neither obtaining nutrients from it nor causing it any damage if also offering no benefit; an air plant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An air plant which grows on other plants, but does not derive its nourishment from them. See air plant.
  • n. A vegetable parasite growing on the surface of the body.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In botany, a plant which grows upon another plant, but which does not, like a parasite, derive its nourishment from it.
  • n. In zoology, a fungus parasitic on the skin and its appendages or on mucous surfaces of man and other animals, causing disease; a dermatophyte.
  • n.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. plant that derives moisture and nutrients from the air and rain; usually grows on another plant but not parasitic on it

Etymologies

From Ancient Greek ἐπιφύτον (epiphyton, "one [plant] that grows upon another plant"), from ἐπί (epi, "on top of") + φυτόν (phyton, "plant"), via -phyte. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "...they had spent what waking hours they could spare from the Juan Fernandez ferns and epiphytes to combing the countryside in search of a nest..."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 231

    February 23, 2008