Tropical orchids are mostly epiphytal - that is, they grow upon trees without deriving nourishment from them.
Epiphytal orchids are very frequent, and reach even to 10,000 ft.
They differ from all the forms already noticed in being shrubby and epiphytal in habit, and in having the branches compressed and dilated so as to resemble thick fleshy leaves, with a strong median axis and rounded woody base.
- This name is now restricted to two or three dwarf branching Brazilian epiphytal plants of extreme beauty, which agree with Phyllocactus in having the branches dilated into the form of fleshy leaves, but differ in having them divided into short truncate leaf-like portions, which are articulated, that is to say, provided with a joint by which they separate spontaneously; the margins are crenate or dentate, and the flowers, which are large and showy, magenta or crimson, appear at the apex of the terminal joints.
All the species are epiphytal in habit.
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