A census of the 2,586 species of New World Melastomataceae represented in the United States National Herbarium (US) was conducted to compile a list of the epiphytic species and information on their geographical and altitudinal distribution. The 227 epiphytic species include forms that live without connection to the ground, as well as climbing species. Members of Blakea and Topobea are able to grow as climbers or as terrestrial and epiphytic shrubs or as trees. The Andean mid-elevation forests and the Colombian Choco region are the areas richest in epiphytic melastome species. The majority of epiphytic species have restricted distributions. Of the epiphytic species 85 percent produce berries, 15 percent have capsular fruits. They are mostly bee-pollinated, offering pollen as a reward; a few epiphytes offer nectar and are pollinated by a broader range of animals. The seven epiphytic species tested are self-compatible; one is capable of agamospermy.
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