The Amazon Rainforest is packed full of really interesting plants – or fauna. So here’s our top 20 most interesting plants that you can find in the Amazon Tropical Rainforest!
The purple orchid
The beautiful purple orchid only opens for a few hours each day, then closes its petals and retreats into the rainforest. This is to avoid being pollinated by animals, as the only place these orchids grow is on trees that produce very nutritious nectar which most animals would love to eat.
The Bija Tree
A variety of fig tree called the bija grows in the Amazon Rainforest where it can weigh up to 2 tonnes! To put that into perspective for you, a male African elephant weighs around 3.5 tonnes so imagine a tree with a mass of around 1/3 of an elephant’s weight – that’s how big this particular type of fig tree is!
The Lion’s Paw
This plant looks a bit like a very large green dish, but it can grow up to 2 metres wide! The reason for this plants’ unusual shape is the strong winds that blow through the Amazon Rainforest. In order to protect itself from being blown away by strong gusts of wind, this plant wraps its leaves into a tight ball to become as heavy as possible – which helps it land upright when there are strong winds.
The rainforest lily
These plants produce bright red berries during autumn and winter – the exact opposite time of year that plants would usually be producing fruit in England! This means that local bird species such as toucans and parrots rely on these plants’ berries as their main food source during the colder season.
The trumpet tree
This tree is known for producing incredibly loud noises during high winds, which can measure up to 100 decibels. This noise produced by the trees helps them warn each other of upcoming storms, so that they have enough time to collect water and store it in their leaves before the rain comes crashing down.
The Mistletoe cactus
This leafless cactus plant attaches itself to host plants with sharp barbs on its stems called ‘puncturing glochids’ which are so sharp that if you get covered in them it will be terribly painful and your skin will feel like it’s burning – ouch! The sap from this plant is also said to make ants drunk when they drink it, and ants have a tendency to do – they get stuck together in an ant pile and eventually die from being strangled by each other. But you probably don’t want to try this at home, as it can be extremely dangerous if you’ve never milked a cactus before!
The Angel trumpet
This plants’ name comes from the resemblance of its inflorescence (that’s a fancy word for flower spike) to that of an angels’ trumpet. The plant is actually poisonous, so always keep your hands away from it as ingesting even one leaf could leave you extremely ill or even with hallucinations. You might not be convinced yet that plants are anything more than plain old ordinary plants but these plants don’t only grow on their own…
The strangler fig tree
This tree starts off growing in soil like other normal trees but eventually forms a vine that takes over its host tree. This vine wraps its way around the host plant’s trunk and branches until it has completely covered them in leaves. Eventually, this plant will grow into a new tree which will then in turn produce more vines that kill off any surrounding plants – forming a cycle of complete dominance in an area where they are found.
The Rubber plant
This plants’ name derives from the dark brown rubber which it oozes when cut. This plant was first brought to England by Charles Ledger, who traded the plants with Brazil for seeds… But had no way of getting his plants back to Brazil so instead gave them away to people all around London. These plants are extremely hardy and can grow very close to water sources – making them perfect for British weather.
The fiddle-leaf fig tree
These plants resemble normal-looking house plants but they are actually quite rare – especially outside of their natural environment in South America. They were only introduced into Europe about 100 years ago, after being discovered on an expedition along the Amazon River! The leaves of these plants are shaped like violins making them incredibly unique plants.
The Cabbage Palm
This plants’ leaves are very tasty and can be cooked or eaten raw, although they need to be boiled for at least 10 minutes before being eaten. This plant’s roots are also used as medicine by some tribes in South America, who believe that it has the power to cure diarrhea! The plants’ leaves also provide shelter for animals such as toucans – and they can be used to make roofs and clothing… But watch out, because if too much sunlight hits the plants it will cause it to catch fire.
The Bamboo plant
This plant is definitely my favourite plant, and is actually one of the most useful plants in the world! All parts of this plant can be eaten, although not all taste great – you might want to try eating the roots first! The shoots of this plant are good vegetables that can help people who suffer from malnutrition due to not having enough food to eat. It’s also very strong so it’s often used in construction such as houses or structural supports!