Adaptations of a plant

Rainforest plants have made many adaptations to their environment. With over 80 inches of rain per year, plants have made adaptations that helps them shed water off their leaves quickly so the branches don’t get weighed down and break. Many plants have drip tips and grooved leaves, and some leaves have oily coatings to shed water. To absorb as much sunlight as possible in the dark understory, leaves are very large. Some trees have leaf stalks that turn with the movement of the sun so they always absorb the maximum amount of light. Leaves in the upper canopy are dark green, small, and leathery to reduce water loss in the strong sunlight. Some trees will grow large leaves at the lower canopy level and small leaves in the upper canopy. Other plants grow in the upper canopy on larger trees to get sunlight. Many trees have buttress and stilt roots for extra support in the shallow, wet soil of the rainforests.Over 2,500 species of vines grow in the rainforest. Lianas start off as small shrubs that grow on the forest floor. To reach the sunlight in the upper canopy, it sends out tendrils to grab sapling trees. The liana and the tree grow towards the canopy together. The vines grow from one tree to another and make up 40% of the canopy leaves like the rattan vine. The rattan vine has spikes on the underside of its leaves that point backwards to grab onto sapling trees. Other “strangler” vines use trees as support and grow thicker and thicker as they reach the canopy, strangling its host tree. They look like trees whose centers have been hollowed out.

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