An epiphyte is an organism that grows on the surface of a plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water or from debris accumulating around it. While epiphytes in the tropics are know to be rather splendid in size and diversity the boreal zone has its fair share of epiphytic organisms as well. They may not be as charismatic as their tropical counterparts, but they are just as beautiful. This naked branch of a pine, that is no more than a foot in length, is covered in at least two different types of lichens and a bit of moss as well. While it is getting crowded on the branch, when it comes to lichens, things happen very slowly due to their slow rate of growth.
The age old idea that moss grows on the north side of trees seems to be true, at least on the older larger trees down at the Whitemud Ravine. The picture below shows the north side of an old growth deciduous tree, the south side of the trunk was completely free from moss growing on it. Moss growing one the north side of the trunks makes sense as the north side of a tree generally get les sun light, is cooler, more damp and more shaded. All of these are perfect conditions for mosses too become established. Apparently in the Southern Hemisphere it is the opposite situation, moss tends to growth on the south side of three trunks. Mental note to self: Check tree trunks when visiting South America next time…, and the direction the toilet flushes.