Amazon Rainforest Plants

What could be more apparent in a tropical rainforest than its plant life? The Amazon rainforest or selva, is certainly no exception. But if you walk into one of these forests expecting a small, fuzzy garden hedge growing under a tall, lanky tree, prepare to be flabbergasted. There are more than 100 arboreal species of plants, i.e. plants which grow from atop branches of trees or other aerial medium and have no contact with the soil, catalogues and counted so far, all of which are indigenous to no more than a single acre of forest! It is no surprise, then, that there may only be one specimen of any of these extremely rare plants in the world! The Amazon rainforest is quite a lot like a large wedding cake – a very explicitly layered structure. There are the sun-loving umbrella-like trees which shoot right up to the top and form the canopy; these grow as high as 120 feet or 40 metres above the ground.

Since the fibres of these umbrellas can’t always be trusted, a few individual trees, known as emergents, wiggle through the little crevices and make their way up into the shining sunlight above, rising beyond the canopy and usually growing as high as 200 feet or 60 metres.

Rainforest Floor

But that’s not all, the ground is home to some of the most exquisite and exotic plants imaginable. Here are a few names you cannot forget: the orchid, which are already universally well known because of their beautiful flowers which have some of the most enchanting scents of any flower. One of the oddities (and delights) of the orchids is due to the fact that some of them are pollinated by moths which are active at night. Since they attract pollinators by scent, and the moth being their principle pollinator, their fragrance is strongest at night.

Hard as it is to believe, the soil of the Amazon rainforest is very, very poor in nutrients. This is because rains and other forms of flowing water like streams and rivers constantly wash away any humus on the surface of the soil making it very a poor growth elixir. But nature used this to evolve one of the most (of not the most) exotic plant of all – the carnivorous plant (or at least insectivorous plant). The pitcher plant, sun dew and of course, the poster boy of the insect eating plant world, the Venus fly trap all get their daily protein needs, not from the nutrient deficit soil, but from the flies and other insects they lure and capture with their various tools.

So, what does this have to do with anything in the civilised world? Everything. These plants and trees produce 20 percent of the oxygen we breathe everyday and they do it all for free. Many of them have medicinal properties which may provide cures for all sorts of diseases and ailments. Remember at the beginning of this article, it was mentioned that some plants are indigenous to hardly an acre of land? Well what if one of those plants was a cure for cancer and the mindless deforestation forced it into extinction? This, if not for any ethical reason, should be enough to prompt anyone to take a stand and defend the Amazon rainforests.
  • Anonymous on Wed, 12/04/2013 - 00:47

    It is so important to save the AMazon Rainforest, not only does it provide oxygen with all the unique and exotic plants,but it's a shelter for many animals who depend on the rainforest to survive.If the rainforest is driven out into extinction,the whole food chain will be affect including us humans

  • Anonymous on Fri, 04/27/2012 - 19:54

    amazing love all the information

  • Anonymous on Wed, 03/21/2012 - 19:37

    i think u did a real good job it helps me with my project

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