Water is essential to life, including the lives of plants. But plants in wet and humid ecosystems around the globe don’t usually need to compete for water. “In fact,” Sir David Attenborough explains, “there can be so much rain in the rainforest that some species have to have special ways of getting rid of it.”
In this clip from Kingdom of Plants 3D, a documentary series written and presented by Attenborough, London’s human-made rainforest at Kew Gardens provides examples of two fascinating species of plants with unique features:
The tropical taro plant‘s leaves are hydrophobic and self-cleaning. Covered with microscopic structures that resist liquids, each leaf sends the water rolling off, which carries away dirt and bacteria.
Tank bromeliads, plants that attach themselves higher up in the sunlit canopy, collect water in their leaves. These small pools provide hydration for the plant as well as essential resources for animals that might not otherwise have water in this elevated ecosystem.
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• What makes that fresh rain smell? MIT films raindrops to find out
• The Fungarium and Millennium Seed Bank Partnership at Kew Gardens
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