What Are Some Native Rainforest Plants?


Quick Answer

Native plants in a tropical rainforest include bromeliads, epiphytes and carnivorous plants. Temperate rainforests, found along the Pacific Northwest, are home to plants such as the stinging nettle, the Western red cedar and the salmonberry.

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What Are Some Native Rainforest Plants?
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Full Answer

Bromeliads have thick, waxy leaves that fan out in a circle, creating a bowl in the center that catches rainwater. Each miniature pool is home to rainforest creatures such as salamanders, snails and tadpoles. The animals hatch, grow and start the next generation, all in their own mini ecosystems.

Epiphytes are air plants that attach themselves to tree trunks and branches high in the forest canopy. While they depend on the trees for anchorage, epiphytes are not parasites. They pull their nutrients and water from the humid moist air. Epiphyte seeds are transported through the forest by the wind or are deposited by birds. Bromeliads and orchids are epiphytes.

Carnivorous plants, such as the Venus fly trap and the pitcher plant, get their nutrients from insects and small animals that fall into their grasp. This ability allows these plants to grow in most parts of the rainforest.

One of the largest trees in the temperate rainforest is the Western red cedar. First Nations people in the Pacific Northwest used the trees for shelter, clothing, medicine and canoes. Stinging nettles make medicinal teas and can be eaten as a vegetable, but must be carefully harvested because of their sting. Salmonberry, a relative of the blackberry, produces edible orange berries and sweet-tasting shoots.

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