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Roots absorb moisture from humid air: orchid


Orchid roots / Jaedub / LicenseCC-by-nc - Attribution Non-commercial

Some orchids absorb moisture from humid air via aerial roots.

"Orchids of many kinds have also adopted this high life. They lack the ponds that sustain the bromeliads, so they must collect their nourishment in other ways. Some dangle their roots in the air, absorbing moisture from the humid atmosphere and rely on the tiny amount of nutriments it might have dissolved on its descent through the forest vegetation. Others spread their roots over the surface of the branches and collect the water that has trickled through the leaves and dripped from branch to branch, gathering a little nutriment on the way." (Attenborough 1995:166)
About the inspiring organism
Med_3328735555_10ebbe2e04_b Orchidaceae

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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