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First impressions

Image: a fall in the Tropical Forest
a fall in the Tropical Forest

Water, water, everywhere

The Amazon forest is hot and humid. The air is fragrant and there is water everywhere.

Image: tree with stilt roots
tree with stilt roots

Trees with stilt roots

Their stilt roots keep them anchored in the moist soil.

Image: tree with buttress roots
tree with buttress roots

Trees with buttress roots

CSome of them are giants that can easily grow to 50 metres tall. Their large buttress roots keep them firmly anchored in the ground.

Image: epiphyte


Epiphytic plants climb on other plants as they grow.

Image: lianas and roots
lianas and roots

Lianas or roots?

A tropical forest is often full of a tangle of intertwined lianas and aerial roots. Lianas are climbing plants that lack underground roots; they twine themselves or their tendrils around trees as they grow upward in search of light.

Aerial roots grow downward from a plant’s stem into the ground.

Did you know that vanilla comes from a liana?.

Image: spiny palm
spiny palm

Spiny palms

Their trunks and leaves are covered in long black spines, which prevent some animals from eating their fruit.

Image: leaves


Leaves come in all sorts of different shapes.

Some leaves are small, thick and waxy, to prevent them from drying out in the heat of the sun.

Others are large and flexible, to absorb as much sunlight as possible.

These leaves grow on other leaves, a form of asexual reproduction.

Image: Pachira aquatica flower
Pachira aquatica flower


Birds, insects and bats pollinate these brightly coloured flowers.

Some flowers, like those of the Pachira aquatica, last only 24 hours.

Image: fruit


Many animals in the forest eat fruit.

For more information:
Life inside epiphytes | Biological pest control | Danger! Mercury rising! | Descriptive records

 Back: ecosystems  Tropical Forest    
 First impressions  Bats: A family portrait A multi-layered forest Water dwellers
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