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Re: secondary hemiepiphytes

  • To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
  • Subject: Re: secondary hemiepiphytes
  • From: StellrJ@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 21:27:42 -0500 (CDT)

In a message dated Fri, 19 May 2000  2:55:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
SelbyHort@aol.com writes:

<< True epiphytes have a different root structure that allows them to very
efficiently absorb and hold even trace amounts of moisture very quickly. They
can grab moisture and nutrients from the rainforest clouds as they pass
through the canopy.

Hence the term, "cloud forest" for the high altitude tropical forests.  The
cloud forests are much cooler than lowland rainforest -- cool enough to be
called temperate, but without the disadvantage of frost.  The cloud forest
at Montverde, Costa Rica, is much richer in epiphyte biomass than the
lowland rainforest of La Selva, Costa Rica, while the latter has far more
climbers and lianas.

<<Many climbing and/or hemiepiphytic aroids will not flower unless they can
scramble to great heights. Hemiephytes have developed flowering strategies to
utilize different pollinators or seed dispersers that reside high in the
canopy. These agents are perhaps not found on the ground, or the canopy
residents may be more efficient at their tasks than ground dwellers, so the
hemiepiphtye wants to get their flowers up to them.

But, then there are those species which climb up to the light, but then
send their flowers downward to near the ground, e.g., the legume Mucuna.
Sometimes, light itself may be incentive enough to take the epiphytic
route.  (Although Mucuna, AFAIK, does not sever its tie to the ground.

Jason Hernandez
Naturalist-at-Large







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