Looking for a list of interesting plants in the Amazon Rainforest? You’ve come to the right place…
1. Hot Lips
Hot Lips are one of the most interesting-looking plants in the Amazon Rainforest, for sure. Scientifically known as Salvia microphylla, Hot Lips are intriguingly-shaped flowers that look like cartoon lips. Their hot red color makes them look like lipstick has been applied.
The Cacao tree, or Cocoa tree, scientifically known as Theobroma cacao, is another incredibly unique plant from the Amazon Rainforest. Chocolate is produced from the fruit, or pods, of the Cacao plant. Cacao seeds are one of the oldest and most prized trading commodities of Central American cultures.
Bromelia is a type of flowering plant from the rainforests of the Amazon that include nearly 3,600 species of which mostly originate from tropic regions of the Americas. They come in shades of pink, red, orange, yellow, and mixes.
4. Rubber Tree
The rubber tree, scientifically known as Ficus elastica, is another oddity among plants that hail from the Amazon rainforest, it is also known as rubber fig, rubber plant, and Indian rubber bush. The plant’s exact origins aren’t too clear, though it is naturalized in the Americas, parts of Asia, the West Indies, and Sri Lanka.
Lianas are woody vines that shoot roots out into the soil around the base of trees to gather nutrients, as well as utilizing tree trunks and branches to climb. The plant often reaches up to the top of the forest canopy in order to soak up direct sunlight. In the Amazon, Lianas are used for food and for building shelter.
6. Giant Water Lily
The Giant Water Lily is a favorite flowering species from the Amazon, scientifically it is known as the Victoria amazonica. It is the biggest member of the water lily group of plants, the Nymphaeaceae family.
7. Passion flower
The passion flower, or passion vine, is a group of plants that includes approximately 550 species of plants that flower. These species belong to the Passifloraceae family and mostly consist of vines, but also include shrubs and some trees.
Orchids are a family of flowers that are enjoyed all around the world, and most of them originate from, you guessed it, the Amazon Rainforest. The most intriguing thing about Orchids is how the female and male parts are located on the same flower, but in different areas and unlike on any other species. It is also interesting to note that Orchids make up one of the two biggest flowering plant families, period (which one of the two has more species is still up for debate).
Heliconia is a group of flowers belonging to the Heliconiaceae family. There are nearly 200 species of Heliconia that originate from the Amazon, though some come from specific islands of Maluku and the western Pacific.
10. Banana Tree
Everyone is familiar with bananas. What they may not know is that banana trees, scientifically known as the genus Musa, originate from tropic areas like the Amazon. The fruits, which are actually berries, are one of the most popularly consumed fruits in the world.
11. Strangler Fig
The Strangler Fig, also known simply as “Strangler”, belongs to the genus Ficus as a member of the Moraceae family. The plant gained its name for its trademark method of “strangling” trees that it climbs in order to expand and find sunlight.
12. Coffee Plant
Yep, you read it correctly. The Coffee plant is another of the Amazon’s treasures that the world can’t seem to get enough of. Most of the Coffea species in the family Rubiaceae originate from the tropics of the Americas, though a few are native to the tropic regions throughout Africa and Asia as well.
The Achiote plant originates from the tropics of Brazil and Mexico. Its seeds produce the orangish-red condiment Annatto. The seeds are highly beneficial as they are high in vitamin E and tocotrienol as well as minerals like sodium, calcium, and iron.
Huimba grows as much as 160 feet tall, easily making them among the tallest trees in the Amazon Rainforest. Scientifically known as Ceiba samauma, Huimba trees are near and dear to the hearts of the native people. On the other hand, some tribes believe evil spirits live in the Huimba trees.
15. Monkey Brush Vines
Monkey Brush, also known as Monkey Brush Vine, is another interesting plant species from the Amazon Rainforests. Scientifically known as Combretum rotundifolium, the tree has vivid colored yellow and red flowers which makes them stand out in the forest of green surrounding them.
Ironwood is an umbrella term more so than it is a single species. The term refers to plants and trees with a wood density heavier than that of water. Many such species originate from parts of the Amazon Rainforest and the Americas.
17. Tangarana Tree
The Tangarana Tree, also known as the Triplaris Americana, or Devil Tree, is an intriguing species from the Amazon. Its strangest feature is that it hosts armies of ants on its trunk, protecting itself from other invasive insect species. They grow up to 100 feet tall.
18. Kapok Tree
The Kapok Tree, scientifically known as the Ceiba pentandra, is another tropical species that hails from the tropic regions of the world. Aside from the Amazon Rainforest, the Kapok Tree is found in the Caribbean, West Africa, throughout Mexico, and south and Central America.
19. Water Lettuce
Water lettuce, scientifically known as the genus Pistia, of the Arum family (Araceae), is the only Pistieae genus within the entire family. The plant stands out among others in the Amazon, is edible, and goes by the names water cabbage, shellflower, and Nile cabbage in addition to water lettuce.
Believe it or not, Mahogany, the brownish-red timber that is sought after for everything from furniture to instruments and wood paneling, also originates from the Amazon Rainforest regions. The tree belongs to the Swietenia genus, naturalized in the Americas as part of the Chinaberry family (Meliaceae).
21. Camu Camu Plant
The Camu Camu plant is known by many names; camucamu, cacari, camu-camu, camocamo, or araçá-d’água. The plants scientific name is Myrciaria dubia. It is a shrub-like tree that grows alongside rivers in Brazil and Peru. The tree produces purple and red fruits that resemble
22. Açai Palm
The Açaí palm, scientifically known as Euterpe oleracea, is a palm tree species that originates in the Amazon’s forests with distinct leaves and a sturdy trunk. Over the past century, demand for the fruit of this palm tree has skyrocketed.
The Cumaceba tree is another fascinating tree that originates from the tropical rainforests of the Amazon. They are naturally found in Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, and Colombia and as well the Guianas. The tree produces pretty white flowers and seed pods that carry two large seeds. There are roughly 133 types of tree that belong to the same family as the Cumaceba tree, most of them aren’t found anywhere else in the world.
The Piripiri, or Piri-piri, scientifically known as Cyperus articulates, is a type of grass that originates from the river basins found within the Amazon. The plant is used by the natives traditionally for medicine, basket making, and for magical purposes as well. Pirepiri is naturalized in Africa, the USA, Australia, and Asia.
The 25th entry on our list of 50 interesting plants in the Amazon Rainforest is one many people don’t realize is a tropical species; the Poinsettia. Poinsettias are found naturally in Central America and Mexico. They were popularized as holiday decorative displays.
26. Murumuru Palm Tree
The Murumuru Palm tree is one of many unique palm species that are native to the rainforests of the Amazon. Like others, it is a palm tree that produces fruit that is edible. The tree is one of the dominant palm species in the Amazon around Brazil.
27. Walking Palm
The Walking Palm is an interesting palm species if ever there was one. Scientifically known as Cashapona, the Walking Palm is a palm tree that originates from the Amazon Rainforests. It is one of the most easily identifiable palms in the entire Amazon, and the world, as its roots grow outwards, resembling many legs “walking”, looking for water.
The Manikara zapota, better known as Sapodilla, is a tropical evergreen tree that belongs to the Sapotaceae family. It is native to the tropical regions of Central America as well as Mexico and the Caribbean. One of the most noticeable features of the tree is that some species grow for over 1,000 years. Another is its unique fruit.
Lupuna is a tree that hails from the Amazon regions of Central America as well as the tropical regions of West Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. The Lupuna’s scientific name is Ceiba pentandra, it belongs to the Malvaceae family.
30. Devil’s Gardens
Number 30 on our list is not really a single plant, but rather an interesting term used for areas of the Amazon Rainforest that consist of any one singular species. Because there are so many species growing and thriving in the rainforests, it isn’t seen as “natural” when a single plant is growing in any one particular area. Hence, these areas are known as “Devil’s Gardens”.
31. Cassia Grandis
Cassia Grandis is one of many plants known as the “pink shower tree” or “carao”. These flowering plants belong to the Fabaceae family and grow up to 100 feet tall. They originate from the Amazon around Venezuela, Mexico, and Ecuador. They have clusters of pink and white flowers.
32. Mountain Soursop
Mountain Soursop, or Annona Montana, produces tasty fruit, and, yes, you guessed right, it comes from the Amazon Rainforest. It may also be native to parts of the Caribbean and Central America in addition to the Amazon. The fruit of this species appears somewhat like a prickly pear.
33. Pitcher Plant
Pitcher plants, which may just be some of the most interesting plants anywhere in the world, let alone the Amazon, have leaves unlike most any other plants on earth. The leaves work as traps for food, including insects, frogs, lizards, even rodents.
Hancornia, or Hancornia speciosa, scientifically speaking, is a tropical species that originates from the Amazon around Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Peru. There are only one known species of Hancornia; Mangabeira. The fruits of the Mangabeira are edible and are called mangabas. Harcornia put off white flowers, and their fruits resemble something between apples or pears.
Cupuacu (cupuassu, cupuassu, copoasu, and cupuazú are alternative spellings) is an Amazonian plant that is closely related to the Cacao plant (another species featured on this list). The fruit of the Cupuacu is pulpy and creamy with a banana or pear-like taste with hints of chocolate and pineapple.
The Aspidosperma is one of many unqiue and interesting flowers that belong to the Apocnaceae family of flowering plants found in the Amazon Rainforest. The flower was first in the 19th century and is thought to originate from Central America, Mexico, South America, and the West Indies.
The Ucuubeira tree is an Amazonian species found along the streams and rivers of the rainforests. The tree produces a fruit called Ucuuba that has bright red seeds that stand out against the greens of the Amazon. Today, ingredients from the fruit are found in beauty products.
Aechmeas are a group of plants (mainly epiphytes) in the Bromeliaceae family of flowering plants. There are approximately 250 species of the Aechmea genus of Bromeliaceae flowers that are native to Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean.
Another utterly fascinating group of plants found in the Amazon Rainforest and surrounding regions is the Couepia. These flowering evergreen shrubs belong to the Chrysobalanaceae family of flowering plants. Couepia have been identified in South America and Mesoamerica since as early as the mid to late-1700s.
40. Brazil Nut Tree
The Brazilian Nut tree is a shoo-in for any list of plants or trees from the Amazon Rainforest. These 150-foot-plus trees produce the world-famous “Brazil nuts”, scientifically known as Bertholletia excelsa. The trunks of Brazil nut trees reach a whopping width of 6 feet.
Licania is a group of shrubs and trees that consists of over 200 species, all belonging to the Chrysobalanaceae family (the same family as Couepia) of plants that are naturally found in the Amazon regions of Brazil, Mexico, and the Lesser Antilles. The tree blooms and produces a fruit that is green, is the size of an avocado, and has white freckle-like spots on its skin.
Platonia is the singular species belonging to the genus Platonia of the Clusiaceae family of plants. A tree, Platonia originates from Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, and other parts of the South American Amazon Rainforest. The species is also known as maniballi, bacuurizeiro, bacuri, and naranjillo.
The Manihot is a group that belongs to the Euphorbiaceae milkspurge family of plants. The genus was first described in the mid-1700s. The Manihot genus includes herbs, shrubs, and trees, all of which originate from North America, Central America, and South America.
Hevea, also known as rubber tree or rubber plant, is another plant that belongs to the Euphorbiaceae spurge family of plants. Scientifically, Hevea is known as Hevea brasiliensis, and is sometimes refered to as the Sharinga tree. It belongs to the order of Malpighiales, separating from some of the other so-called “rubber plants”.
Croton is a popular and intriguing plant of the flowering spurge family of plants, Euphorbiaceae (as are several others on this list). The plant is also known as rushfoil or codiaeum verigatum. Crotons put off bright and vivid green, orange, pink, and white flowers.
The Cinchona is a group that belong to the Rubiaceae family of flowering plants and consists of approximately two dozen shurbs and trees. These tropical trees all originate from the Andean regions of the Amazon Rainforest in western South America. The tree is used for treating a variety of illnesses and disorders (from hemorrhoids to stomach issues and leg cramps). Chinchona has pink and white trumpet-like flowers.
Eugenia is a flowering genus of plants that belongs to the Myrtaceae family, technically making it a myrtle. The Eugenia is native to the Amazon Rainforest, though today has worldwide popularity and is cultivated in both tropic and subtropic regions. Traditionally, the leaves of Eugenia are used for creating shelter and/or barriers.
Cattleya belongs to the Orchidaceae family, and the subfamily Epidendroideae. This unique orchid grows in a much wider variety of shapes, colors, and combinations, than other orchids. The colorful blooms may reach as much as several inches in width, while some grow no larger than an inch wide.
The Quararubea, also known as Chupa-Chupa, or the South American sapote, is a fruit tree native to the Amazon Rainforest regions of Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru. The tree grows well over 120 feet tall and produces juicy orangish-yellow fruits that are sweet and soft. The fruit is most often eaten raw.
Last but far from least on our list 50 interesting plants in the Amazon Rainforest are Tetrapterys, a group belonging to the flowering plants family of Malpighiaceae. The plants are native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America (minus Chile) that have some sort of hallucinogenic effect on humans. Most Tetrapterys are vines, shrubs, or small trees. They put off yellowish-red umbrella-like flowers.
Hey, I’m Joey. I’ve been cooking since I was a little kid and love everything about it. You can find my writing about food, kitchen appliances (such as blenders) and much more. Thanks for stopping by!