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Cal Poly Pomona


There are over 100 different species of plants in the Rainforest Learning Center, including representatives from the tropics of the Americas, Africa, southeast Asia, Australia, and the Pacific islands. Some of these are plants of economic importance: coffee, chocolate, black pepper, allspice, papaya, pineapple. Some are serious pests outside their native habitat, such as water hyacinth, which clogs the rivers of Florida. Others are common houseplants. Many of these are either from tropical dry forests, or are epiphytes in the rainforest: Our houses are much drier than most tropical rainforests.

Rainforests don't form overnight, even in a greenhouse. As the Rainforest Learning Center develops, plants will be added, and others removed. Some of the taller trees will eventually grow to the peak of the greenhouse, and will either be cut back, or removed, to be replaced by younger ones. Over time, many of the plants will spread by seed and spore, and create still other habitats. Even though a greenhouse is not a natural community, the organisms within it interact.

Oncidium sp.

Oncidium orchid

Coffea arabica

Coffee fruits

Ananas comosus

Pineapple flowers

Asplenium nidus

Sporangia on fern leaf

Eichhornia crassipes

Water Hyacinth