The Amazon rainforest is incredibly important to the planet's health because of its water supply and its plant life. According to Blue Planet Biomes, half of all the world's plant species live in tropical rainforests, which supply 40 percent of the world's oxygen and 25 percent of known medicines. The Amazon is the biggest of all the rainforests, the world's largest river basin, and provides one-fifth of all the planet's free-flowing fresh water, as the World Wildlife Fund reports. Thus, the Amazon's abundance of plants constitutes one of Earth's most important resources.
More than 2,700 species of bromeliads, including the pineapple, grow on earth, a vast number of them in the Amazon rainforest. These adaptable plants grow nearly everywhere in the forest: on the dimly lit floor, atop rocks, and even in the canopies of other plants and trees. They can grow in so many places because they do not need roots to gather water--instead they absorb it from the air. The water that pools in their leaves creates many tiny ecosystems, which host insects and even small frogs.
Plant lovers around the world treasure orchids for their beauty and variety, and these plants are abundant in the Amazon rainforest. They use their pungent odor attract to insects, which in turn pollinate the plants. Moths exclusively pollinate some species of orchids, which means that these particular flowers' fragrances are far more powerful at night, when moths are active.
The largest flower in the world, the Water Lily, grows in the Amazon rainforest. Despite their size, Water Lilies are very light and thin, so that they can float on the water's surface. Their delicate nature prevents them from living in all but the calmest parts of the rivers and lakes.
Heliconia are some of the Amazon's most striking plants, with flowers shaped like lobster claws. Multiple bright colors can mix together on a single petal, creating stunning combinations. Like the orchid, gardeners favor these flowers because of their ornamental value. However, given the shape and structure of the flowers, only specialized birds and insects can reach their nectar and pollinate them.
The Kapok tree is the Amazon's largest tree. It can grow as high as 200 feet and have a trunk 11 feet in diameter. The Kapok trees are vital to the health of the rainforest's ecosystems, as other plants, such as bromeliads, grow in their branches, which also host insects, birds, frogs and bats. The latter come to the trees for their sweet-smelling flowers, and do the majority of the pollinating.