Big Leaf Maple Epiphytes
An epiphyte is a plant that grows upon another plant (such as a tree) non-parasitically. Big leaf maples provides a scaffolding for moss, fungus, ferns and other plants. Rather than take from the tree, all the accumulated debris and plants are a benefit. Over time small roots grow up from the maple's branches to infiltrate the material growing on them, receiving water and nutrients.
Old maples often hold more kilograms of epiphytes than kilos of maple leaves, creating a (heavy) multi-coloured garden in the air. (Click on photo to enlarge.)