With worldwide demand for hardwood, medicine and food, rain forests are being destroyed far faster than they can grow. Hundreds of thousands of species of animals and plants in the rain forest face extinction. The list of rain forest plants that are not endangered is probably shorter than the list of those that are, however, there are some notable species that are in serious danger of immediate extinction.
Growing wild in the rain forest, hundreds of varieties of orchids are currently endangered. They range from brightly colored giant blooms to miniature orchids whose blooms are no larger than a fingernail. Some of the most notable endangered orchids include Paphiopedilum vietnamense, which only grows in a certain area of Vietnam, the Cymibidium sinese, found in Taiwan and Paphiopedilum victoria-regina, native to Sumatra.
The distinctive Rafflesia arnoldii is one of the rain forest's most endangered plants as well as one of the most recognizable blooms. The unusual looking flower can grow up to 3 feet wide, and emits the odor of rotting meat. The odor draws flies and other insects that help pollinate the flowers. Since they are slow-growing and require a Tetrastigma vine as a host in order to grow, they are endangered because of habitat loss.
Known for its fruit that gives off a highly unpleasant smell, the Durian testudinarum is endangered because of the loss of habitat for the dawn bat. The Durian testudinarum relies heavily on the dawn bat for pollination and the mangrove forests the dawn bat relies on to survive are quickly disappearing. Durian trees are also very slow-growing and bear fruit only once every three to four years.
Although individually there are many mangrove trees, these plants work together to form mangrove forests that provide an important habitat for hundreds of endangered plants and animals. They can survive in many conditions, including salt water, The roots of the mangrove, which grow above the ground, provide protection for frogs, crabs, lizards, turtles and other animals, while their canopy shelters birds, monkeys, vines and rain forest plants. The two main threats to mangroves are pollution and clear cutting in order to reach other rain forest plants.