The Coolest Plants in the Amazon Rainforest
| Wildlife & Flora
The Coolest Plants Found in the Amazon Rainforest
In 2012, the United Nations declared March 21st the International Day of Forests. Each year, this day aims to raise global awareness for forest conservation. Our forests are home to 80% of terrestrial species of animals, insects and plants, they are also home to thousands of indigenous cultures. It is safe to say that the entire world’s population depends on forests for its livelihood. The health of our forests is vital to our survival, as we need them to eat, drink and breathe. This year’s theme is “Forests and Climate Change”, highlighting forest-based solutions to address climate change and sustainable development.
To celebrate the International Day of Forests, we have put together a list of 10 very cool plants that are found in the Amazon Rainforest. What would you add to the list?
1. Heliconia Flower
This beautiful amazonian flora is known as the Hanging Lobster Claw. This flower is bright in color and varies in its structure. They require warm and humid conditions to grow, thus being prominent in the tropical regions of the world. The heliconia flower is a very popular exotic flower to have in your garden, giving it the ultimate tropical feel.
2. Rubber Tree
Economically, the rubber tree is one of the most important trees in the Amazon rainforest for indigenous peoples. The rubber tree’s sap is latex, and it is still used today in the modern processing of rubber.
The orchid flower is known as one of nature’s most exquisite flowers. They are also the largest family of flowers in the entire world (about 30,000 different species). Orchids grow in all shapes and sizes, and because of their adaptable nature, they grow in almost all climates around the world, except cold! Orchids, like many flowers, depend on insects and birds for pollination. The conservation of the rainforest is vital for their existence.
We can’t imagine anyone who could live without chocolate. Despite being one the world’s favorite desserts, the cacao plant is also a superfood that is loaded with health benefits. Make raw cacao apart of your regular diet to benefit from natural energy, mental alertness and focus. Cacao also has more calcium than cow’s milk and is the highest plant-based source of iron. It’s full of magnesium for a healthy heart and brain. Why not try baking a batch of raw cacao brownies for the ultimate comfort superfood.
5. Giant Water Lilies
If you have ever been on an Amazon cruise or stay in a jungle lodge, you may have seen these impressive Victoria water lilies during one of your jungle excursions. These water lilies are not your average flower - they grow up to 3 meters in diameter - imagine, you could lay down on one!
6. Passion Fruit Flower
I’m sure many of you have enjoyed a glass of passion fruit juice, but did you know that this plant also produces one of the world’s most beautiful flower? The passion fruit flower is a vigorous vine that can cling on to almost anything and grow 15 to 20ft. a year. This plan does well in tropical climates, and prefers the sun, however, the passion fruit flower does not like heavy heat. If there is too much heat, the passion fruit flower will start growing towards the shade. (See top image)
These beautiful plants are bright in color, varying from reds and oranges to blues and purples. These flowers grow on the ground or on other plants, and even on rocks. Like the passion fruit flower, some of the bromeliad species also produce a fresh, juicy fruit. Can you guess what it is? Answer: Pineapple.
8. Venus Fly Trap
The mysterious venus fly trap is considered on of the world’s coolest plants. It is a carnivorous plant that preys on insects such as ants and beetles, as well as spiders. Once its triggers are activated, it rapidly traps its pray, seals the trap and begins digestion. Seeing the venus fly trap in action is truly remarkable!
9. Banana Tree
Bananas are the fourth largest food crop in the world and one of the most popular fruits in the Unites States. They are vital to our economy and our health. The banana plant is very impressive. Banana blossoms develop into fruit (takes 3-4 months to be ripe enough to eat). After the plant produces fruit, the stem dies and is immediately replaced by new growth. Can you believe that banana plants weigh on average 100 pounds and can have 150 bananas growing at the same time!
10. Coffee Plant
Most of us couldn’t imagine a world without coffee! The coffee plant resembles a bush and can grow up to 30 feet tall. Coffee flowers are very small and fragrant, helping to attract insects for pollination. After the flower falls off of the plant, little berries begin to grow. Inside these berries lie the valuable coffee beans which make them one of the most economically important species in the world.