We discussed tropical rainforest plants in the preceding article. A tropical rainforest plants list, including pictures and information on individual plant species, is available on this page.
Tropical Rainforest Plants Information
There are a tremendous amount of plants in the world’s tropical rainforests. Over 40,000 plant species call the Amazon Rainforest home!
The tropical climate of the planet’s regions offers optimum growing conditions.
Plants must adapt to find their place in the ecosystem, even in a rainforest, where there is competition for sunlight and nutrients.
Several plants grow quicker, have bigger leaves, and develop better defenses against predators in order to accomplish this.
Some rainforest plants have co-evolved with animals, forming beneficial relationships for both, as we will see.
Some of our selected species are quite big, others are quite lovely, and others are even deadly (if you’re an insect) in this list of tropical rainforest plants.
Tropical Rainforest Plants List
Epiphytes are plants that live on other plants.
Epiphytes are plants that live on other plants. They don’t have roots in the ground, and have evolved various strategies for obtaining water and nutrients. Sometimes a single tree can be home to many different epiphyte species, together weighing several tonnes. Epiphytes even grow on other epiphytes!
Many of the plants in this tropical rainforest plants list are epiphytes.
The pool of water in a bromeliad is a habitat in itself.
Bromeliads are the most widely epiphyted plant. The long leaves of bromeliads are arranged in a rosette and produce flowers. By wrapping their roots snugly about the tree’s limbs, they become firmly attached to it. Water is channeled into a central ‘tank’ by their leaves.
A tank is a habitat in and of itself for a bromeliad. Many rainforest animals utilize the water, not just the plant. The tank is used by birds and animals alike. In the pond, insects deposit their eggs and tadpoles develop.
Many rainforest orchids grow on other plants.
We’ll examine some of the various species of rainforest orchid below. There are several varieties. Epiphytes are common in rainforest orchids. Several have specialized roots that allow them to absorb water and nutrients from the air. Roots of other orchids, which do not need to be buried in the earth, extend out over the host tree’s limb and capture water.
Açai Palm (Euterpe precatoria)
The most frequent tree in the Amazon Rainforest is said to be the açai. Despite this, the region’s 390 billion trees account for just 1% (5 billion). It has edible fruit, and it is a popular Amazon food.
Carnauba Palm (Copernicia prunifera)
Because of its many uses, this Brazilian palm tree is known as the “tree of life.” Its fruit and wood are consumed, and it’s used to construct buildings. It is best recognized for producing carnauba wax, which comes from the tree’s leaves.
Car polish, lipstick, soap, and many other products all use carnauba wax. Surfboards are even coated with it to help them move through the water more quickly!
Rattan palms come in over 600 different varieties. Rainforest trees may be found in Africa, Asia, and Australia. Vines that can’t support themselves; long plants. They instead wrap themselves around other trees, rather than vice versa.
These trees’ hooked spines allow them to climb up others in order to gain access to the light. Furniture makers harvest rattans and utilize them.
Walking Palm (Socratea exorrhiza)
The tropical rainforests of Central and South America are home to walking palms. Our Plants In The Tropical Rainforest article explains more about stilt roots and how they protrude out of the tree above the ground.
These roots were once thought to permit trees to ‘move’ when another tree felled them, allowing them to relocate. The roots, according to scientists, merely increase the tree’s stability.
Amazon water lily (Victoria amazonica)
The leaves of the Amazon Water Lily can grow to over 2 metres in diameter!
The aquatic plant Amazon water lily thrives in the lakes and rivers of South American rainforests. Its gigantic leaves, which may grow to be 3 meters (9.8 feet) in diameter, are impressive. The undersides of the leaves have rows of pointed spines. Manatees, for example, are prevented from eating them by these detergents.
Rubber Tree (Hevea brasiliensis)
Rubber trees are ‘tapped’ for the milky latex that is used to make rubber.
Rubber trees are now cultivated in tropical parts of Asia and Africa, after being discovered in the Amazon Rainforest. Latex, a milky fluid present in the tree’s bark vessels, is extracted from the tree. The latex drips out of these containers, and it is gathered in barrels. ‘Rubber tapping’ is the term used to describe this.
Natural rubber is made from latex. Car tyres, hoses, pulley belts, and clothing are just a few of the uses for natural rubber.
The Amazon Rainforest is home to almost 1.9 million rubber trees.
Bougainvillea is a rainforest plant.
Bougainvilleas are South American natives that belong to the vibrant rainforest flora list. In different places, they are grown as ornamental plants. The exquisite flower-like leaves of bougainvilleas, which surround the actual bloom, are well-known. Thorny vines and shrubs grow on these thorny plants.
Indian Timber Bamboo (Bambusa Tulda)
The grass family’s bamboo is the biggest member. Bamboo can grow up to 90 cm (3 ft.) per day in some species! The bamboo species Indian Timber Bamboo is particularly useful. It’s used to make furniture, as the name implies.
Paper and musical instruments are also made from it. It’s found in the rainforests of South Asia.
Vanilla Orchid. Many of the tropical rainforest plants in this list are grown commercially.
The Aztecs were the first to utilize vanilla orchid as a flavor. Vanilla is now more often used to refer to the flavor than the plant from which it comes. Vanilla orchids climb up other trees and develop like vines.
Hummingbirds and melipona bees are pollinators of wild vanilla orchids. Central and South America are home to these plants.
Bees known as orchid bees are used to pollinate plants in the genus Coryanthes, often known as Bucket orchids. The plants offer the bees a prize in exchange for their assistance: a particularly scented material that male bees might employ to entice females.
The flower’s fragrance attracts the male bee first. It will occasionally fall into the flower’s “bucket,” a special chamber inside the body of the flower, as it attempts to reach the sweet-smelling, female-attracting liquid.
A section of the blossom that connects pollen to the bee’s body is the only way out of the bucket. The bee will then pollinate any other bucket orchid of the same species it visits after escaping.
Each is reliant on the other to reproduce; the bucket orchid and the orchid bee have co-evolved.
Silky Oak (Grevillea robusta)
In Australia’s rainforests, the silky oak is a huge tree. It has little to do with genuine oak trees. Since its wood is resistant to rotting, it’s utilized in carpentry and joinery.
Tualang (Koompassia Excelsa)
The rainforests of Southeast Asia are home to Tualang trees. Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia are among the countries where they may be found. Tualangs are among the tallest of all rainforest trees, growing to heights of over 80m (262 ft). They create the emergent layer, which is the highest layer of the rainforest, towering over other trees in the forest.
Because of the smooth bark of tualangs, they are difficult to climb. The big honey bee, which nests high in tree branches, finds this advantageous.
Tualang trees are more stable and able to absorb nutrients because of their buttress roots.
Strangler figs kill the trees on which they grow.
Several epiphytes, including some that grow on trees, do not harm the plants. Strangler figs, on the other hand, kill the host plants and aren’t like this.
In the limbs of another tree, a strangler fig starts out. The roots of the fig tree descend to the forest floor as it grows. It then forms a lattice by wrapping its stem around the host tree. More sunlight and nutrients are drawn up by the fig than its host, which eventually dies.
By then, the strangler fig lattice has grown strong enough to support its own weight, which is commonly formed by several figs. Even after the host tree has rotted away, it continues to stand.
In the rainforest environment, the strangler fig is a crucial component. Many rainforest animals eat the fruit of this plant.
Corpse Flower (Rafflesia arnoldii)
Rafflesia Arnoldii – also known as the ‘Corpse Flower’.
The world’s largest bloom is found in Rafflesia arnoldii. On vines that span the forest floor, this uncommon plant thrives. Borneo’s and Sumatra’s rainforests are home to this species.
The diameter of Rafflesia arnoldii blossoms may reach 1 meter (3 feet). They got their moniker ‘Corpse Flower’ from the stench they emit, which smells like rotting flesh. The flies that will pollinate the flower are drawn to this scent.
Pitcher plants capture and drown unwary insects.
A carnivorous plant is included in every list of tropical rainforest plants! Pitching pitcher plants may be found in regions with deficient nutrients, where they evolved to prey on insects.
The pitcher plant comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all function the same way. After being attracted by nectar or attractive scents, insects fall into the plant’s tube-like body. Hairs on the tube’s walls prevent the insects from escaping.
Towards the bottom of the tube, the insects eventually drown in a pool of liquid. The plant feeds on the bodies of its prey, obtaining nutrients.
The genus Nepenthes contains some of the most well-known pitcher plants.
Heliconias are also known as ‘Lobster Claws’. Can you guess why?
The tropical rainforests of the Americas are home to Heliconias, which are flowering plants. Hummingbirds are drawn to their vividly colored blooms and grow on the forest floor.
In many areas of the globe, heliconias are popular decorative plants. Due to the form of their blooms, they are also known as ‘lobster claws.’
Kapok (Ceiba pentandra)
Kapok trees are tall trees with buttress roots.
The upper branches of kapok trees, which form part of the emergent layer, are tall rainforest trees. The roots of kapoks are buttressed. The tropical rainforests of South America, Asia, and Africa are home to kapok trees.
Durian (Genus: Durio)
Although durians are foul-smelling, they are surprisingly good to eat.
Southeast Asia is home to durian trees. Their fruit is known for its strong fragrance. The scent is appealing to some, but disgusting to others! The fruit, on the other hand, is a popular delicacy.
Mahogany (Genus: Swietenia)
Mahogany is a valuable hardwood that comes from the rainforest.
The wood of the genus Swietenia, also known as mahogany, is harvested. The beauty and color of this red-brown wood are valued. The rainforests of the Americas are home to Swietenia trees.
Tropical Rainforest Plants List: Conclusion
This tropical rainforest flora list contains flowers with unusual adaptations, trees with weird root systems, and several plants that are utilized by men for food or to manufacture other goods and products.
Despite the fact that no list of this type can hope to include all of them, we hope that we’ve provided you with an idea of the lives and uses of many varied plants found in tropical areas.