Flowers in Tropical Rainforests

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Rainforests grow near the equator and cover no more than 2 percent of the Earth's surface area. Tropical rainforests feature a perpetually warm and humid climate as well as near-daily rain. Fifty percent of the world's plant- and animal-life inhabit rainforests, including a wide range of tropical flowers. Many flowers attach themselves to trees to get the sunlight they need to grow. Other flowers are parasitic and bear an unsavory odor. Some flowers contain healing chemicals used in life-saving medicines.

Pink Princess

  • Pink princess (Melicope elleryana) is a flowering tree indigenous to the coastal rainforests of Queensland, Northern New South Wales (NSW), New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Pink princess produces clusters of pink- to amethyst-colored blossoms in the summer. This fast-growing tree cultivates best in well-drained soils and reaches heights of up to 80 feet in its native rainforest environment. The pink blossoms of Melicope elleryana are pleasing to nectar feeders such as parrots and hummingbirds. Pink princess' flowers are attractive to several butterflies species, including the Ulysses butterfly who also makes use of the tree as a host plant.

Lucifer's Torch

  • Lucifer's torch (Canna indica) is an inhabitant of tropical rainforests in the Hawaiian Islands, West Indies and tropical America. This flowering, herbaceous plant produces in thickets and poses a threat of overcrowding other plants. The rhizomes of Lucifer's torch contribute to its aggressive spreading behavior and make the plant difficult to remove. Lucifer's torch prefers sunny locales and nutrient-rich, well-drained soils. Canna indica produces brightly-colored flowers in butter-yellow to tangerine, pink and crimson hues. Some flowers bear polka dots or flame-like imprints. Other common monikers for Canna indica include Saka siri, Indian shot, bandera, platanillo and canna lily.

Christmas Cactus

  • Native to the Brazilian tropical rainforest, Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) enjoys bright, indirect light. This cactus carries the name of its proclivity to flower during the holiday season. Christmas cactus blossoms emerge from the outermost tip of green, leafy branches and look like crimson candle flames prior to flowering into spectacular star-like blossoms. Although a member of the Cactaceae species of plants, Schlumbergera is different from its thorny relatives. Christmas cactus has no spines and requires moderate watering.

Guajava

  • Guajava (Senna or Cassia alata) inhabits tropical rainforests in Africa, southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and tropical America. Guajava hails from the Cassia genus of the Fabaceae family of flowering plants. Senna alata produces single, butter-yellow, popcorn-like blossoms; its inflorescence is erect and resembles a fat, yellow candle. A waxy, smooth sepal protects buds prior to flowering. The leaves, bark and roots of this tropical plant are a source of medicinal properties used in the treatment of skin irritations. Another common moniker for Senna alata is ringworm shrub because of the plant's curative abilities in the treatment of ringworm. Guajava also contains saponin, which can relieve constipation and expel intestinal parasites.

References

  • Photo Credit Andrew Dernie/Photodisc/Getty Images
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