English Across the Curriculum

Tropical Rainforest

Plants of the rainforest

About half of the world's plant species can be found in the rainforest. Because it is warm and rains the whole year, forests stay green. Trees lose their leaves and immediately grow new ones. The rain forest is the home of many plants : lianas, ferns, orchids and many kinds of tropical trees.

Palm tree

Palm trees grow in the hot and wet climate of the tropics. They give us food, drink and sometimes building material. Most palm trees are found in Southeast Asia, South America and on islands in the Pacific.

There are over 2,000 kinds of palms. They grow straight and tall and most of them carry fruits, like the coconut.

Rubber tree

Rubber is one of our most important raw materials. Natural rubber comes from the juice of the rubber tree. It grows best in hot climates. The tree can be about 20 metres tall. It has smooth, shiny leaves. A white, milky fluid comes out of the bark if you cut into it. This is called latex.

Today, most rubber comes from plantations in Southeast Asia.


Wild orchids grow in places with a lot of rainfall. Most species grow on trunks or branches of trees. In cooler regions, orchids are grown in greenhouses. Most of them grow in a mixture of fascinating colours.


Ferns at Melbourne Botanical Gardens
Image : fir0002 flagstaffotos [at] gmail.com Canon 20D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, GFDL 1.2,
via Wikimedia Commons



White orchid
Image : Niall KearneyCC BY-SA 4.0,
via Wikimedia Commons


Latex from rubber tree

Latex collected from a rubber tree
Image:  Irvin calicut, Public domain,
via Wikimedia Commons