Tropical Plant Field Guide

Tropical Plant Field GuideTropical plants are those confined to the equatorial regions of the world. Their vibrancy and exoticism often make them popular choices as indoor plants or greenhouse staples. While plant diversity can be found throughout the world, the band of greenery between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn is especially dense with a variety of species.


Orchids come in an astounding variety, representing the largest family of flowering plants. While there are over 20,000 species of orchid, they are easily distinguished from other flowers by their one abnormal petal, which is often longer than other petals. Common orchid species include the Bamboo Orchid, with its bright pink center and faint white petals, which can be found in the tropical forests of Hawaii. Orchids also include the vanilla vine, which has clusters of white flowers and is the source for the popular flavoring.

Bird of Paradise

Amongst the most famous of tropical plants, the Bird of Paradise is a magnificent flowering tree. Found in the tropical regions of southern Africa, the Bird of Paradise can grow to several meters in height. Large, colored leaves fan out in bunches resembling a crane's crest.


This distinctive looking flower has a remarkably simple and vibrant design. The plant has a single large, red leaf and a spadix, or flower cluster, which rises from the leaf like a tall stamen. There are numerous species of anthurium spread across the world.

Bromeliads (pictured)

A family of flowering plant, bromeliads often act as tropical ground cover. While the family covers a variety of species, most bromeliads can be distinguished by their tightly overlapping leaves that often form a barrel reservoir at the base. Included in the bromeliad family are pineapples and a number of red, fern-like flowering plants, such as billbergia hallelujah.

Article Written By Louie Doverspike

Based in Seattle, Louie Doverspike has been a professional writer since 2004. His work has appeared in various publications, including "AntiqueWeek" magazine, the "Prague Post" and "Seattle Represent!" Doverspike holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hamilton College.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.