Lithophytes (lithophytic plants) are plants that grow in or on rocks. Those that grow on rocks are also known as epipetric or epilithic plants. Lithophytes that grow on land feed off nutrients from rainwater and nearby decaying plants, including their own dead tissue. Chasmophytes grow in fissures in rocks where soil or organic matter has accumulated.
Examples of lithophytes include several Paphiopedilum orchids, ferns, many algae, and liverworts. Species that only grow on rock or gravel are obligate lithophytes. Species that grow on a rocky substrate and elsewhere are facultative lithophytes.
As nutrients tend to be rarely available to lithophytes or chasmophytes, many species of carnivorous plants can be viewed as being pre-adapted to life on rocks. By consuming prey, these plants can gather more nutrients than non-carnivorous lithophytes.
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