The Amazon rainforest is one of the most diverse and interesting habitats on earth. This is a place that is bursting with life of all shapes and sizes, and at its heart are the many species of plants that make this area so unique.
The plants that are found here and are native to this part of the world are all part of a bustling eco-system, and some of them are also plants that have been valued by humans for thousands of years.
Here are just four of the many amazing plants that help to make up the Amazon rainforest…
Giant Water Lily – These beautiful lilies are native to the Amazon rainforest and are instantly recognisable. They are easy to spot due to their vast size, and their name Victoria Amazonica was given in honour of Queen Victoria. These beautiful lilies are now grown in many parts of the world by expert horticulturalists, including at Kew Gardens in England. In their natural habitat in the Amazon, they are pollinated by a beetle that is attracted by the large flowers at night.
The Rubber Tree – The rubber tree is one of the most valued trees in the Amazon rainforest. Centuries before any newcomers arrived in South America, the native people were using the sap from the tree to make rubber. The trees are still used to produce rubber today, despite the invention of many man made rubbers. Companies like this silicone moulding UK based business Meadex, turn it into many of the things that we all use in daily life. The rubber tree is only endemic to the Amazon, however seeds from the tree were illegally smuggled out of the country and there are now plantations of the tree in regions of southeast Asia which have a similar climate to the Amazon.
Cacao – These plants are another favourite secret of the Amazon rainforest. It is best known for being the plant that produces the bean that we get chocolate from. It is also known as Theobroma, which translates as food of the gods appropriately! The beans from this tree are also valued in the beauty world as it can be made into a cream to nourish dry skin. They also contain antioxidants which promote healthy cells, as well as boosting endorphins, the happy hormones!
Kapok Tree – These trees are huge and tower over the jungle in the Amazon. It is home to many different species of birds, animals and insects, from its roots to its canopy. The local people of the Amazon also value this tree highly, as the wood is ideal for making canoes from. The fruits have a unique ability that helps them to spread around the rainforest – the fruits don’t sink, so they float down river spreading their seed far and wide.