The vegetation of Malaysia consists mainly of lowland rainforest, submontane and montane forest, and swamp, tidal, freshwater and peat-swamp forest. There are also heathlike forests in the leached and sandy soils and on the coast.
Malaysia lies on the equator and receives a great deal of rainfall. As a result, temperatures are high year round, making the ideal environment for exuberant plant life. The variety of plant life in Malaysia is among the highest in the world.
The species of vascular plants number in the thousands, with tree species alone numbering more than 2,000. Some of the most spectacular plants exist in Malaysia. Among them is the largest known flower, the parasitic monster flower, which measures almost three feet in diameter. Malaysia is also home to many kinds of carnivorous pitcher plants.
In less than half of an acre, it is possible to find one hundred different species of trees, shrubs, creepers and epiphytes, non-parasitic plants that grow on other plants and feed off of the atmosphere.
Much of the jungle has been destroyed by agricultural or commercial clearings, severe wind and lightning storms and by indigenous people clearing the land for shifting cultivation. When cleared land is abandoned, scrub, coarse grassland and secondary forests reclaim the land.