The Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world. It covers an area of about 2.8 million square miles. The rainforest is the drainage basin of the Amazon River. Although the Amazon is home to many species of identified wildlife, plants and flowers, scientists estimate that numerous other species exist there which are unknown to man.
The Gongora orchid (Gongora quinquenervis) is one of many outstanding rainforest species called epiphyte because they grow on another plant for support. This orchid is exotically shaped and has yellow flowers. The strong scent of the gongora orchid is particularly attractive to bees.
The lakes of the Amazon are home to some of the most massive water lilies in the world. Among them is the Giant Amazon Water Lily (Victoria amazonica) which is named in honor of Queen Victoria of England. This water lily can span about 50 feet and each leaf can grow to about 9 feet in diameter.
There are approximately four basic plant groups in the Amazon, including carnivorous, saprophytic, parasitic and autotrophs species. The innocent-looking, white springtime flowers of the Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula) belie this plant's carnivorous nature. The floral appearance of the plant is camouflage for its "jaws of steel." The venus fly trap attracts small, unsuspecting animals, mostly insects, through its fragrance, then captures them in its clamp-like trap.
An interesting fact about the kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra) is that its whitish-pink, bell-shaped flowers have a fragrance that is particularly attractive to bats. However, the tree flowers just once every five to 10 years. Flowering occurs after the tree sheds all its leaves, annually.
The kapok tree is the loftiest tree in the Amazon rainforest, growing to heights of around 200 feet, with trunks of about 10 to 11 feet in diameter. A variety of insects, birds and frogs inhabit the kapok tree. So do colorful, flowering bromeliads (Bromeliaceae), which have a habit of living in tree trunks and among rocks and other plants. Perhaps the best known family member is the pineapple.
It is possible to create your own collection of Amazon flowers by planting tropical rainforest seeds. Some of the floral "stars" of the Amazon are available in seed form through websites like Rainseed.com. One possibility is the Forest Flame (Delonix regia) with clusters of striking scarlet flowers that have a tinge of yellow. Another is Blue Crown (Petrea Volubilis), a vine that grows to about 4-feet in length and has lilac blue flowers shaped like stars. Yet another beauty is the Golden Goddess (Tabebuia chrysantha) with its abundance of yellow flowers.