Confucius was an admirer of orchids and in this quote he captures the quality of the epiphytes in this eloquent translation*:
The orchid grows where others cannot enduring the hardships of hunger and thirst, and is loosely tied to the things that support it. And, even with all the difficulty of its life, the orchid graces the world with beautiful colour and rare fragrance. This is like the life of the true gentleman, who sets himself to learn self-discipline, and whose character shines no matter where he is or what he experiences.
Though he never saw an Australian epiphytic orchid, the description holds true as can be seen in these three pictures from among the many species found on the eastern seaboard.
*From The Fragrance of the Unread Poem by Jonathon Steffan http://www.jonathansteffen.com/the-fragrance-of-the-unread-poem/ Accessed 10:04pm 30th June 2014