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  • Strategy

Ribbon-like roots absorb moisture: Taeniophyllum orchid

The roots of Taeniophyllum orchids absorb moisture efficiently via flat, ribbon-like shape.

"One orchid, taeniophyllum, has roots that are even more versatile. Its scientific name means, rather unattractively, 'tapeworm leaf.' Its roots have not only developed into flat, tapeworm-like shapes several yards long that writhe statically all over the branch on which the plant sits, but they have also become green and manufacture the orchid's food. The true leaves, no longer needed, have been reduced to tiny scales on the minute stem that carries the flowers." (Attenborough 1995:166-168)
About the inspiring organism

Learn more at
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Device that desiccates humid air before it enters a building to reduce energy needed in air conditioning. Device that keeps cold engine parts from sweating by removing moisture from air--reduces need for biocides against moisture-loving bacteria. Device that gathers water from humid air for drip irrigation.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Building, manufacturing, agriculture

Attenborough, D. 1995. The Private Life of Plants: A Natural History of Plant Behavior. London: BBC Books. 320 p.
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