Rainforest House

The rainforest house is regularly fogged several times a day. The individual plants emerge from the fog as shadows. Just like in the natural locations. Fog consists of pure water and is harmless.

Warm and humid...

that's how palms and ferns like it, like the king fern or giant fern (Angiopteris erecta). Everything about this fern is huge: the leaf stalks can grow as thick as thighs, and the leaves can grow up to six meters long. Giant ferns belong to a separate fern group that has existed for 300 million years, as numerous fossils testify.

Cycads also originated during this time. A large Cycas rumphii, the queen sago palm, grows in the center bed. Despite the German name "Palmfarn", it has nothing to do with palms or ferns. Cycads are distantly related to conifers, but they are a distinct group of plants.

Humid and warm is also what banana plants like it. The "trunk" of the banana consists of rolled-up leaves. It can be easily cut with a pocket knife. In their native country, bananas are pollinated by bats.

Banana type Musa x_ paradisiaca cv. Sanguinea
Banana type Musa x_ paradisiaca cv. Sanguinea © W. Lobin / Universität Bonn
Staghorn fern
Staghorn fern (Platycerium grande) © W. Lobin / Universität Bonn

Not parasites: epiphytes

In order to get enough of the vital light, epiphytic plants have settled at the top of the trees. These are not parasites, because they steal neither nutrients nor water from the trees. In order to be able to live at such heights, they have developed special adaptations.

The Giant Staghorn Fern (Platycerium grande) from the Philippines is a good example for clever adaptation. This fern has two different types of fronds. At the top there are the so-called basal fronds. They catch everything that falls from above: dead animals, leaves, twigs and rainwater. All this material decays and forms humus. In this way, the fern creates its own nutrient-rich ground at a height of 20 or 30 meters. The long hanging fertile fronds are responsible for reproduction. They carry the spores, that after germination will develop into new plants and then grow again - if everything works out.

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