Welcome to the undergrowth of a humid tropical forest. Lush vegetation, thick foliage, creepers…, it’s a real jungle! In this third greenhouse it’s impossible to grow giant trees; in nature they can be up to 50 m high! However, the lower level of the tropical forests is made up of dense vegetation of a more modest size that has adapted to the lack of light due to the forest canopy. It is very well represented here. The atmosphere in this greenhouse is therefore warm, dark and very humid.
The plants on display come from the world’s various tropical regions: Amazonia, South-east Asia and tropical Africa. They include:
- tropical Araceae (Philodendron or Anthurium family) mainly from South America. It is one of the garden’s flagship collections.
They are of visual interest due to their remarkable foliage: some leaves are gigantic, some are holed (Philodendron), while others have unusual colours (red, blue, etc.).
Their flowers are also unusual. The bract, generally coloured, is known as a spathe and surrounds the spadix, which carries the reproductive organs. The spadix has the distinctive feature of emitting odours, which are often foul! Not for everyone, however, as these colours and odours attract pollinating insects;
- ferns, for which the tropics are home to an extremely diversified range. You’ll see the elkhorn fern”, an epiphytic plant whose leaves are like the antlers of certain types of deer, and the arborescent ferns such as the Cyathea;
- ant plants which live closely with ants in a mutual support relationship. Myrmecophilic plants are often epiphytic and generally offer accommodation and food to the insects. In exchange, the ants feed the plant by providing organic matter, such as their excrement. They may also act as “bodyguards”, protecting the plant against herbivores and harmful insects;
- ficus with astonishing strangling roots;
- cycas, which look like palm trees.