Epiphytes

Among my many interests are epiphytes and epiphytic communities.  Colombia’s climate provides sufficient rainfall and humidity combined with appropriate temperatures for these plants to thrive. Bromeliads, orchids, gesneriads, Peperomia, ferns, mosses and liverworts are among the most frequently seen.

In the urban environment of Medellin there is an assemblage made up of lichens,  mosses, liverworts, Tillandsia recurvata, Rhipsalis baccifera, and a fern I have not yet identified. Also occurring in this assemblage is a Scheffleria. This group of palnts occurs on various tree species. Some trees appear to provide more suitable substrates as they consistently have heavier epiphyte loads. Tillandsia usnioides and a Catopsis (probably nutans) are seen occasionally but do not appear to be as well adapted to urban conditions as those previously mentioned. It may be that if more native habitat remained around the city we would see much more diversity.

Bromeliads are much more abundant in cool uplands of tierra fria.  Most are of the subfamily Tillandsioideae in the genera Tillandsia, Racinaea, Guzmania and Vriesia. In these areas it is common to see trees heavily loaded with bromeliads often with 3 or 4 species per tree.

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