What Plants Grow in the Amazon Rain Forest?

Plants that grow in the Amazon rain forest include cocoa trees, avocado trees, passionflowers, guava trees and sweet-potato vines. Some Amazonian plant species are epiphytes, such as orchids, mosses and ferns, that do not grow in soil but on other plants instead.

The Amazon rain forest contains up to 80,000 different plant species. Every 2.5 acres contains between 40 and 100 different species.

Many of the plants in the rain forest are used in medicine, food and cosmetics. For instance, cocoa seeds are the main source of chocolate. Avocado trees produce an edible, high-protein fruit. The most important ingredient in gum is derived from the chicle tree. The vanilla vine grows beans or pods from which vanilla extract is taken.

Not all the plants found in the Amazon have food-related properties. Mahogany trees used to be cut down and used for hardwood furniture before the species nearly became extinct. The annatto plant produces a red fruit that is used to make red dye. The Amazon is the original home of the rubber tree, the plant which produces the latex base of rubber. The fibers in the pods of the kapok tree are light and fluffy and are used in both pillows and life preservers.