What Do Poison Ivy & Orchids Have in Common?

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1 August 2013
Flowers and Plants

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How do you get kids interested in outdoors? Keep nifty facts up your sleeve for days you are outdoors or hiking.

What do Poison Ivy & Orchids have in common?

They are both epiphytes.

What’s an epiphyte?

Epiphyte is the Greek word for ‘epi’ meaning ‘upon’ and ‘phyton’ meaning ‘plant’. They are plants which grow on trunks of trees, branches and even leaves of trees. The epiphyte depends on that structure for support, but not nutrition. They are known as air plants as well. They get water and nutrients by the air as opposed to typical trees and flowers which suck in water and nutrients from the ground.

How do epiphytes spread?

Birds and winds transport the seeds or spores to the canopy of trees. That’s why although you may think you killed poison ivy, it will show up one or two trees down from the tree you thought you removed it from.

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