Plant Identification for Tropical Evergreens


With a nearly year-round growth period, the majority of plants found within tropical climates are evergreen. Their periods of dormancy are extremely short but provide plants with a period of rejuvenation before the next season begins. Identifying these plants requires analyzing both plant organs and the average climate of the plant's habitat.


Tropical evergreen plants can include everything from fruit-bearing trees to evergreen grasses to climbing vines. It is an extremely broad category that includes plants found in the most biologically diverse regions on the planet. Hibiscus flowers, bird's nest ferns and rubber trees all fall in this category.

Altitude and Sunlight

In tropical areas and rain forests, evergreen plants tend to grow lower to the ground, with taller plants crowding out smaller ones. Since sunlight is one of the most important resources for evergreen plants, low-growing plants need to climb into trees to reach areas where their light requirements can be met.


One of the most easily identifiable traits evergreen plants have within the tropical climates are their extremely bright flowers that attract both animals and insects from miles around. This allows competing flowers to obtain a genetic diversity unlike that found anywhere else on the earth. Many of these flowering plants have been transplanted from their native habitats because of their unique appearance.


Tropical evergreens have developed large leaves to help them compete for sunlight in the wild. Drip tips are an obvious identifier of tropical leaves. They allow water to run off toward the soil, where it can be used by the plant before it can be evaporated by extreme heat conditions. The most important identifier of evergreen plants is their ability to keep their leaves for the majority of the year during favorable climate conditions.

Other Traits

Although confusingly contrary to other identifiers, certain tropical evergreens such as some bamboos have adapted to grow in low-light conditions, because of tropical plant competition. This allows plants to survive low to the ground. These plants are often cultivated by gardeners for their unique appearance and impressive hardiness.

Keywords: tropical evergreen plants, evergreen plant identification, tropical gardening basics

About this Author

Jonathan Budzinski started his writing career in 2007. His work appears on websites such as eHow and WordGigs. Budzinski specializes in nonprofit topics, as he spent two years with Basic Rights Oregon and WomanSpace. He has received recognition as a Shining Star Talent Scholar in English while studying English at the University of Oregon.