Plants From the Amazon

The largest rainfall in the world, the Amazon, is located south of the equator in the northern region of Brazil. It contains about 500,000 plant species, according to Mongabay. This vast rainforest is divided into descending levels ranging from the overstory, canopy, understory and shrub levels to the ground level. Some plants grow in trees, while others grow in the water or in the understory. Typical Amazon plants include epiphytes, bromeliads, woody vines and palms.


Epiphytes are plants that live on other plants rather than growing on a forest floor. They're found in lowland tropical rainforests, making up roughly 25 percent of all plant species, according to the WWF website. These plants cover a broad range of vegetation, and they are able to live in mid-air. Some common epiphytes include orchids, cacti, some ferns and mosses.


Hemiepiphytes start out as epiphytes for one stage of their life cycle, but then become rooted in soil during the next stage. They begin in the canopy level. As hemiepiphytes develop long roots, they eventually reach the forest floor or ground level. When rooted, they aren't dependent on grabbing nutrients from neighboring canopy plants, as they're able to secure them from the forest floor.


Bromeliads belong to the plant family called Bromeliaceae. Although the pineapple is the most well-known bromeliad, this family contains various plants that don't resemble pineapples, such as Spanish moss. These plants have cup-like structures for collecting rainfall water in rainforests. Species, such as snails and tree frogs, feed on bromeliads.

Woody Vines

Woody vines are known for giving the Amazon its unique protective look. They include many different plants, such as the liana, which is a type of woody vine that starts out as a shrub living on the forest floor. It gradually climbs up to the canopy level as it latches onto canopy trees. Bole climbers are vines that climb tree trunks, wrapping themselves around trees and sometimes choking them. Amazon people have also used these vines for medicine, food, poisons, hallucinogens and construction materials.


Palms are tropical trees that thrive in the Amazon, with more than 900 various species of palm trees growing there, according to the Jungle Photos website. They are more related to orchids and grasses than other types of trees. Most Amazon palms are classified by their unique shapes. These trees are used in several ways by local people. While many fruit from palms are edible, other species are used for making hammocks, roofing, dart quivers, string bags and brooms. Murumuru palms are used for oil and nutrients such as vitamin A.

Keywords: Amazon plants, plants of the Amazon, rainforest plants

About this Author

Venice Kichura has written on a variety of topics for various websites, such as Suite 101 and Associated Content since 2005. She's written articles published in print publications and stories for books such as "God Allows U-Turns." She's a graduate of the University of Texas and has worked in both Florida and Connecticut schools.