The Amazon Rainforest is the largest tropical jungle in the world, containing some of the most biodiverse plants species in the world. Located in South America, more than 60,000 species of plants grow in the Amazon jungle. 20% of the world’s natural forest terrain is the Amazon Jungle itself. Scientists regularly discover new and important plant species, many of them hold medicinal properties. Below we have listed some of the most interesting plants found in the Amazon.
10 Amazon Rainforest Plants
1. Giant Water Lily, Victoria Amazonica
Giant water lilies are one of the more memorable plants you will find in the Amazon Rainforest. Named after Queen Victoria, the sheer size of the Victoria Amazonica water lilies is what sets them apart. They can grow up to 10 feet (or 3 meters) in diameter and can hold up to 60 pounds of weight. Victoria Amazonica lilies grow in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in Peru.
2. Rubber Tree, Hevea brasiliensis
The Rubber Tree has a notorious history. It is one of the most economically valued plants in the entire Amazon region. The sap of the tree is a source of latex that was used, and continues to be used for rubber manufacturing. This impressive plant was endemic to the Amazon Rainforest, however during the Rubber Boom era, the seeds of this plant were illegally smuggled into Southeast Asia (a region that has a similar tropical environment as the Amazon) resulting in the tree being propagated there.
3. Heliconia, Heliconia latispatha
The Heliconia flower, often called the Lobster Claw is one of the more common and colorful jungle plants found in the treetop canopy. The plant has a unique “claw” shape and bright color, making is easy to identify. Many insects and birds rely on the Heliconia plant for food, Hummingbirds in particular, often nest on this plant and in return act as its pollinators.
4. Cacao, Theobroma cacao
Tasting the raw cacao plant is a highlight of any trip to the Amazon rainforest. This plant is an Amazonian superfood and it also happens to be the base of everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure, chocolate. The cacao fruit varies in size and color, but it typically starts off green when young, and turns into a reddish brown color once the pod is ready to be harvested. A fun fact about this plant is that its genus name is “Theobroma,” meaning “food for the gods.”
5. Passion flower, Passiflora edulis
Passion fruit juices and desserts are popular in Amazonian cuisine. While onboard the Delfin Amazon Cruises, guest can enjoy a sample of this tangy superfruit. The flower grows up high in the jungle canopy and its distinctive white and purple colors make it stand out from the lush green scenery. The Passion flower is one of the most beautiful flowers found in the jungle and it is often compared to the orchid.
6. Bromelia, Bromeliaceae
Bromelias grow from the ground of the Amazon Rainforest, they are easy to spot because of their bright colors. Similar to the passion fruit flower, the Bromelia flowers also produce fruit, the pineapple. A very interesting fact about bromelias is their way of storing water. Their leaves have adapted their shape to create a makeshift water tank and they can hold up to 7 liters of water. Unlike many other plants that are up high in the forest canopy, you can spot these quite easily while out on a jungle walk.
7. Coffee Plant, Coffea arabica
Growing up to 30 feet tall, the coffee plant thrives across the tropical forests in Peru, Brazil and Ecuador. They grow best under shade, making the jungle an ideal place for them to blossom. The little red berries may not look like coffee beans at first because it’s inside these berries that you can find the coffee bean. Those valuable little beans make the coffee plant one of the most needed and consumed plant in the world.
8. Monkey Brush Vines, Combretum rotundifolium
The Monkey Brush vine grows deep within the Amazon rainforest. It’s a bright red flower that opens up and looks like a bright brush. This flower grows on a parasitic vine that thrives when it attaches itself to other plants across the jungle canopy. When you spot these colorful flowers, be on the lookout for iguanas, as they often like to rest among the vines.
9. Kapok Tree, Ceiba pentandra
The Kopak tree goes by the name Ceiba and it’s one of the largest trees in the jungle that towers over the rainforest canopy. A diverse number of animal species live in the bark and nooks of this important tree. The kapok tree sheds all of its leaves during the the low-water season, allowing the tree’s seeds to get spread around the jungle. The wood of this tree is very light-weight, making it an ideal base for a river canoe for the locals.
10. Orchid, Orchidaceae
The orchid flower is one of the most exquisite and majestic flowers in the world. They are the largest family of plants, with over 25,000 species located around the world, and over 10,000 of them in the tropical jungle. Orchids bloom in almost every color of the rainbow and thrive best in humid and environments. They rely heavily on birds and insects to pollinate their flowers.
For more information about What Plants are in the Amazon Rainforest, please contact us. If you are interested in booking a Delfin Amazon Cruise, send us an inquiry, we’ll be happy to assist you.