Living the high life

Air plants spend their whole life growing on the upper branches of tall trees, basking in the sunlight. But this way of life has its drawbacks. With roots planted in the tree tops, these plants are unable to extract their water and nutrients from the soil as most plants do. But they have a solution. First, the bare roots can soak up water like blotting paper, absorbing every drop of the slightest rain or mist. Then, their roots trap falling leaves which eventually rot and supply the plant with compost. 20,000 different plants - orchids, bromeliads and ferns - have taken up this remarkable life style.

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2 minutes


Role Contributor
NarratorDavid Attenborough
ProducerNeil Lucas
Executive ProducerMichael Gunton

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