Two-thirds all the world's plant species live in the rainforest areas of the world. As expected, this creates a diverse, rich culture of foliage where plants have to compete in order to survive.
The rainforest is densely populated with foliage; most plants must fight for their survival, and have devised ways of getting the most sunlight and nutrients they can. Some plants grow up the trunks of larger plants, or strangle the roots of large trees.
Some plants get their nutrients from insects and small animals instead of the soil. These include the venus fly trap and the pitcher plant, the latter of which can grow up to 30 feet in height.
Bromeliads have heavy, bowl-shaped leaves that have a waxy texture. They catch valuable rain, and because of their unique designs, they also provide shelter and homes for insects and small reptiles that live on the rainforest floor.
Vines are well-adapted to life in the rainforest, snaking their way up trees and large rocks to reach the much-needed sunlight. Some can grow to be thousands of feet long.
The air plants
Air plants, or epiphytes, don't need soil to survive. Instead, they make their homes on the branches and leaves of larger plants and draw their nutrients from the other plants and from the air.
Rainforest soil is the richest in the world, largely thanks to the saprophytes. The organisms include some fungi, small animals and insects, as well as microbes that are invisible to the human eye.
- California Institute of Technology Rainforest Page
- Missouri Botanical Gardens
rainforest plants, epiphytes, decomposers, rainforest vines, rainforest ecology