Wildflowers of the Rainforest

Bromeliads, Costa Rica Rainforest

Bromeliads, Costa Rica Rainforest

When you first walk the moldy-leaf paths of a rainforest, it is a chaotic wonder of tall trees, thick vines, dense growth, wet air, and a tempest of frenzied creature sounds.  Trying to find flowers in this is not easy.  But once you become accustomed to it, your senses relax.


One of the most versatile flowers on this planet, bromeliads are the natural jewels of the rainforest. In a family of over 3,100 species, this flower includes the pineapple, spanish moss, and the more typical flowering plants shown here.


Athena photographing the bromeliads

Athena photographing the bromeliads

This species of bromeliad is an epiphyte, meaning it attaches its roots to another tree rather than into the earth.  They catch rain and nourishment within a whorl of their leaves, where other organisms like tree frogs also flourish.  Bromeliaceae are primarily found in the rainforests of Central and South America.  They commonly develop one flower that emerges on a stalk and lives for several months.


Outside the rainforest bromeliads can easily be found, oddly enough, in large grocery stores.  These are grown in greenhouses and hybridized a hundred different ways, and sold to customers as a maintenance-free flowering plant.  When I walk by the floral department with my shopping cart in front of me, I give a wink to them and smile at this big beautiful world.


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander, Jet Eliot


34 thoughts on “Wildflowers of the Rainforest

  1. You’ve described very accurately what is to walk in a Rainforest. The beauty of exotic plants with weird leaves shapes and even weirder fruits. Then comes the plants that grow on trees with the most natural mute beauty that makes you utter and exclamation. Wow! I’ve seen plenty in the Amazon Rainforest. It’s engraved in my mind! Thanks Jet! Your posts are always make me regress beautiful moments! 🙂

    • There’s nothing like a rainforest, is there, HJ? I’m really happy to remind you of some of the many amazing places in this world. Thanks so much for your kind comment, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend. 😀

  2. Epiphytes. How kind it is of them to decorate their hosts non-parasitically. I’d never heard of the word until I saw sub-tropical ones and wondered if they live off their hosts. Which they don’t. An excellent arrangement by Nature… RH

  3. Jet Dear ! You made me feel I was in Paradise with your wonderful narrative introduction to the magic of a rainforest ! I had the impression that Bromeliads are only decorative plants and I didn’t know there were so many species and that the pineapple is one of them.
    The word epiphyte (of Greek origin )describes them perfectly as they attach their roots on other trees and not in the ground.Is it though at the expense of those trees ? Then they sound like parasites and unfriendly to their host … However you mentioned above they catch rain within their leaves which means they are rather innocent…
    I love their spiky leaves which spread like sunbeams and the passionate red colour of their flowers.I so much enjoyed your most informative and delightful post ! Thank you 🙂 xxx

    • Excellent question about parasitism! No, the bromeliads do not damage the tree limbs, for they do not draw nutrients from their roots. They also provide habitat for many other organisms. When walking through the jungle the bromeliads are often hidden, or have been knocked down by monkeys or falling fronds or limbs; it is so wonderful to spot them, and I’m happy I could share them with you. A delight to hear from you, dear Doda. 😀 😀

  4. Pingback: AB’s Awesomeness Award – Thank you all | Perspectives on Life, the Universe and Everything

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