In our jungle environment, we grow an assortment of tropical crop plants including cocoa, coffee, rubber, avocado, cinnamon, sugarcane, pineapple, papaya, ginger, cardamom, plantain and vanilla. We also grow important medicinal plants, the rosy periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus), which is used in the treatment of leukaemia, for example.
Competition is fierce in the rainforest, as plants jostle for light and space. With no autumn or winter to halt growth, and a plentiful supply of water, some plants grow at a phenomenal rate. Others have enormous leaves making the most of available light as it filters down through the canopy. Climbers compete with other plants in their search for light, whilst epiphytes perch high up in the canopy on other trees’ branches.