In pre-European times Māori in New Zealand depended on the land for food, medicine and materials. They were wonderfully clever and the New Zealand Landcare Research Māori Plant Use database tells us that some epiphyte, mistletoe and vine species were important resources:
Astelia solandri was used for fibre in weaving to give different colours. The fruits were eaten and the 'down' from the base of the leaves was suggested by one author to be good for pillows!
Ripogonum scandens had many uses: a treatment for rheumatism and skin diseases; a food source in the berries and young shoots; a coarse weaving material; a building material and in fishing.
The sweet chewy berries of Peraxilla tetrapetala were chewed like gum, the flavour was described as "pleasant enough while it lasted"
The strong smell of Microsorum scandens was used as a perfume and in scented oils.
Leaves of Rubus species have been used to relieve coughs, congestions and also as a laxative. The fruit were eaten and the vines were used for catch fish.
There are likely to be many other uses for many other species that aren't recorded in books or databases. I have heard a story of the water from the base of nest epiphytes being used as an anaesthetic for face tattooing. These traditional uses can help us understand this interesting guild and appreciate them for more than just their beauty.
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I work with NZ's native vascular epiphytes at the University of Waikato. I completed an MSc on epiphyte ecology and the shrub epiphyte Griselinia lucida and have recently published the Field Guide to NZ's Epiphytes, Vines & Mistletoes.