TPO 26 - Question 4

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TPO 26 - Question 4

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Epiphytes are plants that use a host plant as a platform to grow. But they don’t get nutrients from the host plant and they develop their own ways to overcome problems. The professor takes urn plant as an example. Urn plant usually grows at the top of the trees. They wrap their roots around the trunks on the upper part of the trees, usually at the canopy, so that they can get sunlight. Besides, their leaves shape like a bowl. This special arrangement of leaves can store water from rain. Also, when insects, dead leaves and debris are washed down into the bowl and mix with the water, they decompose and so create a kind of liquid fertilizer from which urn plant can get nutrients.

1. OK, so a good example of this type of plant, common to the rainforest, is the Urn plant.
2. The Urn plant wraps its roots around the branches of the trees or sometimes around the trunk near the upper part of the tree.
3. They use the tree for support and this allows them to reside high in the trees, in the canopy, where they can get plenty of sunlight.
4. Now, the Urn plant has a unique shape.
5. It got its name because of the formation of its leaves creates a kind of urn or bowl where it can store water.
6. The Urn plant has rather long stiff spiky leaves.
7. The leaves are slightly overlapping and are tightly rolled into a kind of cone shape or a funnel shape.
8. Its flowers are held on a single stem in the center.
9. Anyway, as I mentioned, the arrangement of the leaves forms a kind of receptacle or bowl at the base so that it is rainwater collects on the leaves it rolls down into the bowl where it can be stored.
10. OK, so its unique shape helps it gather and store water.
11. It also helps to gather other nutrients.
12. This is because insects, dead leaves from other plants or other debris land on the leaves and then get washed down into the stored water.
13. Gradually they decompose.
14. The chemical break-down creates a nitrogen-rich food source in the stored water.
15. So, the water supply contains a kind of liquid fertilizer that can be released to the plant whenever it needs the food.