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Flowers and Fruit

Adaptations also occur in flowers and fruits. Many amazing relationships exist between rainforest plants and their pollinators.

In some cases, the structure, colour, smell, flowering time and appearance of flowers can be shaped by evolution to attract very specific animal species to pollinate them. In other cases, plants attract a wide range of animals from insects to bats, birds and arboreal (tree-climbing) mammals to move their pollen around.

Some animals can move easily from the forest floor to the canopy along vines and lianas, clambering across trunks and stems, on what is (from their perspective) a wooded network of roads and highways crisscrossing the canopy! However, most pollinators fly. In response to the very different habits of animals some trees develop all or some of their flowers and fruits on their branches or even on their trunks. This is known as ramiflory (flowering on branches) and cauliflory (flowering on main stem).

Low flying bats and birds, and climbing animals are attracted to feast on nectar or pollen and this leads to pollination. When fruits form the same pollinator or other animals are attracted to the fruits, resulting in seed dispersal.