Most of the world’s plants live in the rainforests. There are so many different plants growing in rainforests, some are poisonous, some give us medicine, and others give us food that appears in super markets all over the world. Some are parasites, like the Rafflesia flower, some are epiphytes like the liana vines. Some are meat eaters. Learn more interesting things about fascinating plants that live in the rainforest….
Plant life in the different layers of the rainforest
There are four different layers in rainforests.
1. Forest Floor
This is the lowest layer of the forest. This is where all the trees’ roots are. The main plants you would find down there would be lots of fungi, mushroom caps and dead wood. There are a few ferns and bushes there as well. It is all covered with rotting leaves that have fallen. Fungus lives on dead wood. The forest floor is the quietest and darkest layer.
2. Under storey
This is the layer after the forest floor. This is where the small trees are. It is still very dark and shadowy there. A few trees grow to be a canopy tree but most of the under storey trees only grow to about fifteen feet.
The Canopy is more than a hundred feet off the ground. It is doesn’t give much light to the under storey and the forest floor because the trees are so squished together. This is why the two layers beneath the canopy are so dark and shadowy. There are lots of nuts and fruits there as well. There are lots of epiphytes up there. Epiphytes (EP-UH-FITES) are plants, mostly in the Canopy, whose roots never touch the ground. There are lots of vines in the canopy and under storey. Vines climb up other trees to reach sun light, even though they have roots in the ground. Vines are also called monkey ladders because of the monkeys that climb on them.
The Emergent layer is after the Canopy. These trees are a few trees from the Canopy that have grown even taller. Emargent trees are taller than a fourteen–story building!
In the Tanzanian Rainforest we found a huge softwood tree that was used to call the Hehe tribe to meetings. We had a go at banging a stone against the large buttressed trunk and the thudding noise echoed through the forest!
This is the Udzungwa Gecko on the Antiaris Toxicaria tree. This tree has poisonous sap that is used in poison arrows!
Make your own lipstick!
Did you know that the teak leaf can be used to make lipstick? If you rub hard on the leaf, it turns red (and so do your fingers!). This is because of tannins on the leaf that prevent elephants and other animals from eating it. Our Tanzanian guide in the rainforest told us that people there use it to make lipstick. I tried it on my lips but it didn't taste nice!