The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest rainforest, it is over half the size of the United States of America at a humongous 6.7 million kilometers squared and spans across nine countries.
It is home to more than 30 million people and also houses a staggering one in ten known species on earth.
A lot of those species are in fact plants, in fact, there are as many as 80,000 plant species living in the Amazon rainforest and more than 40,000 of those species play a key role in regulating the global climate and keeping our planet alive and healthy.
It’s no wonder that in these 80,000 species lay some of the world’s most extraordinary and interesting plants, this article will explore some of the most wonderful plants that the biggest rainforest on earth has to offer.
Nepenthes are a carnivorous species of plant that acts as a trap for large insects and even, sometimes, small birds.
It is a scoop-shaped plant that contains a liquid that is often watery but sometimes more viscous like snot which it uses to drown its prey.
The fluid is especially effective at the capturing of winged insects as it makes their wings unusable.
Once it has caught its prey, if the slippery viscous fluid wasn’t enough, the sides of the cup are coated in slippery liquid that makes it impossible to climb up.
At the bottom of the plant are glands that absorb and extract nutrients from the prey.
So how does this Nepenthes capture its prey in the first place? Well the first thing you’ll notice about them is their bright and alluring colors, as well as that, they have nectar glands on their underside which prey may mistake for a tasty treat.
The Nepenthes has a lid on the top of it which some people mistake for an extra trapping device, in fact, this lid acts as a little umbrella and protects the plant from harsh rains.
Another name for the Nepenthes is the monkey cup because some smaller monkeys will drink the fluid directly from the plant!
Victoria Amazonica is also known as the Giant Water Lily, and for good reason, this water lily can grow up to 3 meters in diameter and is sturdy enough to hold up to 60 pounds of weight! They float on the waters of the Amazon river and are normally native to the shallower, calmer waters of the river basin or the oxbow lakes.
On top of these massive leaves, the Victoria Amazonica also produces stunning water lilies that can grow up to 40cm in diameter.
They start to flourish when the sun sets and can take up to 48 hours to fully bloom.
Their flowers have a bright wight color and a sweet fruity smell that often attracts various species of insects such as the scarab beetle, which carries its pollen and helps with the growth of the Giant Water Lily population.
The Amorphophallus Titanum is also known as the corpse flower, due to the pungent odor that the flower gives off.
The smell it gives off is like that of a rotting corpse, hence the name, however, smell experts have determined exactly what the plant smells like and have come to the conclusion that it is a combination of mothballs, cheese, rotting fish, sweaty socks and a sweet floral scent.
It is a very large plant reaching a staggering 3 meters in height. As the name implies, the Amorphophallus Titanum spots a large phallus stem to give it its height, at the base of the stem is a ring of petals, it is these petals that give the plant its odor.
The Amorphophallus Titanum also holds the world record for having the world’s largest unbranched cluster of flowers.
Sticking with the stench of death, we come to Rafflesia, which much like its smelly counterpart the Amorphophallus Titanum, also has the nickname ‘corpse flower’.
The Rafflesia is a parasitic flower that laces the floors of the Amazon rainforest. It can grow huge buds that can weigh 22lbs and be over 100 centimeters in diameter.
As well as smelling like rotting flesh, the Rafflesia also looks like rotting flesh with a dark red center and petal, covered with white spots.
Despite its smell, some small rainforest mammals such as shrews will eat the fruits of the Rafflesia.
Although The Amorphophallus Titanum holds the record for the world’s largest unbranched cluster of flowers, Rafflesia is also a record holder with the world’s largest single flower of any flowering plant.
The Heliconia Flower is an interesting-looking flower also known as the hanging lobster claw, this is because its bright red petals resemble a selection of pairs of lobster claws.
The Heliconia Flower is a long flower ranging from 0.5 meters to nearly 4.5 meters long. And their lobster claw leaves can range from 15 centimeters to a huge 300 centimeters.
Due to their need for a warm and humid environment to grow, the Amazon rainforest is the perfect place for the Heliconia flower. These flowers are also a favorite of hummingbirds who are the main pollinator of Heliconia.
Orchids are one of the world’s most abundant and beautiful flowers, there are around 25,000 documented species of orchids from around the world and many of these species can live up to 100 years.
Orchids are such a durable and withstanding species because of their adaptability, amazon orchids have thin, long leaves that absorb a limited amount of moisture not to over-hydrate themselves, whereas orchids that grow in drier regions will have large flowers, covered in wax to store any of the moisture they can get.
They can also grow on either the ground, on trees, or even underneath the ground. Orchids normally depend on insects and small birds for pollination, and some can even seduce insects with their colorful petals.
The Passiflora is also known as the Passion Fruit flower, the delicious fruit that produces some amazing drinks also has a beautiful flower.
Passiflora has a very interesting look, a base of white petals housing a second layer of small blue spikes that have a purple base.
On this purple base is a green stem that has a white bulb on the top of it.
Out of that white bulb comes a few green stems with hammer-like ends, these hammer-like ends have a yellow tip just to add to the color! If that isn’t enough, on top of the white bulb sits purple tendrils, the Passiflora looks more like a space station than a flower.
As well as the beautiful flower, the vine of Passiflora will cling to almost anything and grow to tremendous lengths at around 4.5 meters to 6 meters a year.
Cacao is one of the most important plants in the world for one reason, chocolate. This is the plant that produces the famous treat that we all know and love.
The cacao plant is also a treat, except a little healthier, containing more calcium than cow’s milk and the highest source of iron you could find in a plant, the cacao plant is eaten throughout the amazon.
The cacao plant grows on trees and hangs in a brown, crinkled shape that looks a little like a football.
Because cacao grows on the side of trees it is seen to be a restorative form of farming as hundreds of trees must be planted for cacao to grow, many countries are now supporting the production of cacao in the Amazon due to this restoration.
Monkey Brush Vines
The Monkey Brush is a striking and colorful plant that is native to South America and the Amazon rainforest. It is known as a jungle parasite, growing on other plants and trees to get its nutrients from them.
The flower has many small red buds growing along the top of it with small, then, yellow tendrils growing out of the top of them with small pink flowers on top resembling the bristles of a brush, hence the name Monkey Brush.
The flower is a favorite among small birds due to its height and is mainly pollinated by hummingbirds. It is also common to see many green iguanas resting and relaxing on the vines of the monkey brush, and of course a few small monkeys as well.
Bromeliads are a species of gorgeous, large flowers that vary in many different colors, they have striking large leaves that attract many animals to pollinate.
The Bromeliads in the amazon can trap pools of water in their leaves which makes them a brilliant hangout spot for amphibians and other animals.
A study of 209 Bromeliads in the Amazon rainforest found more than 300 distinct species taking advantage of these pools of water, including small salamanders and tree frogs.
Much like the Passiflora, the Bromeliad can sometimes be the flower of a distinctive tropical fruit, in this case, it’s the pineapple.