Plants That Live in Rainforests

Rainforests host some of the most diverse plant life anywhere in the world. In fact, rainforests are home to over two-thirds of all plant species in the world. The warm and humid climate provides the necessary environment for the growth of many types of plants. Trees, shrubs and unusual flowers and plants thrive in rainforests.

Bengal Bamboo

This plant hails from the Southeast Asian rainforest. It is characterized by dark green stalks and long, green leaves that appear in two rows on either side of the stalks. At maturity, Bengal bamboo can reach 80 feet in height and 3 inches in diameter. It is a perennial and is actually considered the largest grass. Blooms are produced only once within the 25 to 40 year lifetime of a particular bamboo plant, and then the plant dies. Bengal bamboo provides shelter for many rainforest animals and the tall stalks aid in the prevention of soil erosion. This bamboo is used for making baskets, furniture and a sacred musical instrument called the Eloo flute.


This fruit tree is found native from southern India to eastern Malaya. It can reach 10 to 20 feet in height with branches that grow close to the ground. Oblong, leathery leaves appear on thick, short stems. Clusters of three to seven yellow or pink flowers form at the ends of branches. Jambu trees produce edible shiny, white or red fruit twice each year. The fruit is around 1 inch long and 1 ½ inches wide and is pear-shaped. The flesh is fragrant, sweet and juicy. Each individual fruit has 1 to 3 seeds. The seeds and roots of this plant are considered poisonous. Monkeys and gibbons feed on jambu fruit.

Kapok Tree

This majestic tree is found in the rainforests of South America, West Africa and Southeast Asia. It can reach 150 feet or more in height and 9 feet in diameter. The trunks of these trees have large spines protruding from them. White or pink flowers appear among 7 to 8 centimeter-long leaves. During the dry season, kapok trees shed their leaves. The straight trunks of kapok trees are used to make canoes. Tree material is also used to make padding, pillows, mattresses and flotation devices. Mayans believed the kapok tree to be sacred.

Keywords: plants in rainforests, rainforest plants, rainforest plant life

About this Author

Kelli Bingham is a freelance writer with nearly a decade of experience in the field. Her works have been published in publications including eHow. She is currently pursuing a degree in business.