Greenhouse Epiphytes and bromeliads Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Michel Tremblay) Epyphytes cling to tree branches in the Tropical Rainforest Greenhouse. Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Michel Tremblay) Aechmea calyculata Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Gilles Murray) Guzmania sanguinea var. sanguinea Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Gilles Murray) Vriesea scalaris 'Rubra' Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Gilles Murray) OngletsDescriptionWelcome to a tropical rainforest, home to over half of all known plant and animal species. This greenhouse offers a view unimaginable in the wild. Here you can see both the canopy – the top part of the forest – and the plants on the ground level. Lush and diverse With all the sunlight, heat and humidity, the plants of the tropical rainforest never get any rest. They thrive high in the canopy, where the light is brightest, and grow more slowly on the shady forest floor. Epiphytic plants and lianas cling to the trees everywhere. Hot and humid These tropical rainforests form a largely unbroken belt around the equator. The most extensive is in the Amazon basin in South America, followed by those in Central Africa and Southeast Asia. These regions are hot and humid all year round. Although this ecosystem covers barely 10% of our planet’s land surface, it is home to a wider diversity of plant and animal life than any other terrestrial habitat. Rich and threatened The world’s tropical rainforests have been home to different peoples for thousands of years. They provide us with precious timber and medicinal plants. They also provide essential habitats for countless numbers of insects and animals. Tropical rainforests are responsible for one third of the photosynthesis occurring on the surface of the Earth. But these vast expanses have been plundered and have already lost much of their wealth. They continue to disappear, taking part of our global genetic heritage along with them. Area334 m²Temperaturedaytime 23°C, nighttime 23°CHumidity50%For more informationBromeliadsOrchidsFerns Map Shade garden Flowery Brook and Lilacs Frédéric Back Tree Pavilion Aquatic Garden Reception Gardens Peace Garden Courtyard of the Senses Chinese Garden Youth Gardens Alpine Garden Japanese Garden Leslie Hancock Garden Shrub Garden Toxic plantsMedicinal plantsMonastery GardenQuébec Corner Garden of Innovations Food Garden Perennial Garden Arboretum Rose Garden First Nations Garden ExploreWorth exploringEpiphytic plants In the heart of tropical rainforests, over 28,000 plant species grow, produce fruit and reproduce without ever touching the ground. These epiphytic species cling to the tree branches and trunks, drawing moisture from the air and minerals that accumulate in the slightest crack or hollow. Unlike parasitic plants, they do not harm their hosts in any way. You can see numerous examples of two groups of epiphytes in this greenhouse: bromeliads and orchids. There are also many different varieties of epiphytic ferns in the wild. Phytotelms, these small aquatic ecosystems Some members of the Bromeliaceae family have developed astounding adaptations for collecting and storing rainwater and dew. These reservoirs plants produce tightly overlapping leaves forming a cleverly designed “tank”. It serves as a habitat for a variety of organisms, some of which spend their entire life cycles there. In return, it allows the accumulation of water, plant litter and organic waste from the animal that reside there, thus provinding a complete diet for the plant. Did you know?Did you know?Fake trees Trees in a tropical forest can grow to 30 to 50 metres or even taller. Since this greenhouse is not large enough for such giants, only the crowns of the trees are represented here. Their trunks and branches are metal skeletons covered in pieces of cork. The space between the metal pipes and the cork is filled with urethane foam. Epiphytic plants are wired onto the branches. Over time, their roots anchor onto the cork. The cork is fast drying and highly rot resistant. Despite the high humidity level in the greenhouse, the “bark” on our fake trees lasts about fifteen years. Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) This epiphytic plant is native to a region stretching from the southeastern United States to Argentina. It is rootless, hanging from trees in dense beard-like masses, sometimes several metres long. Its stems and leaves are covered in greyish scales called trichomes that allow the plant to absorb water and minerals and protect it from excessive evaporation and scorching. It has tiny greenish flowers. Spanish moss is used in floristry and upholstery and as a packing material. In its natural habitat, birds also nest in Spanish moss or break off pieces for nest building, helping it spread.