EDIPHYTES OF KARACHI
Ediphytes or “Building plants” are vascular plants growing out from the moist wall crevices and cracks caused by leaking sewage pipes of the neglected and dilapidated, multi storeyed buildings. Ediphytes have adapted themselves to live in the stress condition of crevices, their seeds are mostly inconspicuous and can reach the seed banks of the building material or through the rain or wind. They can also reach the crevices through biotic agents such as insects, birds, bats, rodents or human beings. The Ediphytes can cause cracks and damage to the facade of the building. A survey of ediphytic trees including woody climbers and herbs of Karachi was conducted during the years 2008-09 in the five districts of Karachi, covering1000 ediphytic plants belonging to 17 families and 25 species, most of the Ediphytes belong to trees of family Moraceae (genus Ficus). Among them most common species is Ficus rumphii. The herbaceous Ediphytes include eleven species belonging to eight families; majority of herbaceous Ediphytes belong to family Poaceae. Ediphytes can prove to be dangerous for buildings so ways and means should be developed to remove them physically, so as to prolong the life of the constructions.