I know that longleaf pine trees can be found in rainforests, but I can't find anything.

  • $\begingroup$ This question is way too broad! Can you please let us know what exactly you are interested of? What species? What forest (Canada type of rainforest or Brazil type of rainforest)? What evolutionary event? Are you looking at current rainforest trees that have broad leaves and are evergreen or trees that had broad leaves that have now evolved toward needles or whatever? $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Nov 7 '18 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ I have to whine a bit. I am sure this question's wording has been changed...as have lots of questions after the fact after answering. Is there a way to tell? I surely do not remember pines, I do remember broad leaf plants in the rain forest. $\endgroup$ – stormy Nov 20 '18 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ Conifers have evolved to handle cold winters, not rain forests per se. What the heck does 'long leaved conifers' mean? White pine with long long needles? How about Ponderosa or Jeffery Pine? Conifers aren't meant for tropical or subtropical regions. Perhaps the monkey puzzle tree might qualify? Conifers evolved to be able to hold onto their 'leaves' by thick epidermis resistant to freezes. There are even hardier deciduous conifers. Why would my answer be voted down? $\endgroup$ – stormy Nov 21 '18 at 0:06

This is sort of a too broad question but here are a few ideas. The second most fragile part of plants are the leaves. In the latitudes and elevations that experience freezing, plants have learned to abscise their leaves and go dormant for the winter season. Conifers have thick, waxy, very thin leaves that most conifers do not need to shed.

In a rainforest there is no danger of too cold temperatures. That is why there is an abundance of broadleaf trees and plants in the rainforest. Most of our indoor plants are tropical rainforest species.

There is also an awful lot of rain in a rainforest. There is a problem with leaves covered with water, as it inhibits the absorption of CO2. Beneath the leaf, O2 is released as a by-product of photosynthesis. Broad leafed plants that have adapted to an environment with lots of rain, little wind, and being crowded together have leaves designed to 'wick' the rain water off the leaf to run down the midrib and off the pointy tip or lobed or curled under leaf margins. This clears off the water and allows the plant to take up CO2, or it would not be able to do photosynthesis to make its own food for energy.

The other cool thing I can remember, is that broad leafs of plants are able to 'adjust' to the light. Similar to a 'solar sail' in outer space. If in full sun, those leaves get thick and stay smaller. If in shade, very normal in a rainforest, those leaves can thin and get larger in order to capture as much light as possible.

A better wording for your question would be, 'why is there an abundance of broad leaf species versus conifers in a rainforest'? If I've been able to translate your question correctly?

Hope this helps.


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