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Introduction: Bromeliads and aroids as epiphytes

Life in a lowland rain forest is concentrated in the canopy, home to most of its plant and animal species. A walk through the Bromeliad and Aroid house offers a peek into these lofty heights.

As so-called “air plants” or epiphytes, bromeliads and aroids are especially common in the forest canopy. After orchids and ferns, which are displayed in other buildings, these two groups are the most diverse plant families in this habitat, with more than a thousand species each.

The composition of the forest canopy flora is very different from one continent to another. The tropics of the Americas, the socalled Neotropics, are particularly unusual. They show the greatest diversity and many groups of epiphytes are only found here. For example, bromeliads exist naturally only in the Americas. The aroids or Araceae are found worldwide, but by far the largest diversity is found in the canopy of Neotropical forests. The exceptional role of the Neotropics is also reflected in a lot of other plant and animal groups.

If you want to know more about the general life-style of an epiphyte, press the pound key 161 on your handset.



Audio file download
Introduction: Bromeliads and Aroids as epiphytes (MP3, 600 KB)

Audio production and copyright: Soundgarden Audioguidance GmbH
Text: Andreas Gröger, Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg