More than a quarter of the world’s known plant species can be found in Brazil . As the world’s largest tropical rainforest, the Amazon  boasts an astonishing range of trees (many festooned with Tarzan-worthy vines and creepers). Among the most legendary species are wild rubber trees and Brazil nut trees (capable of producing 455 kilograms/1,000 pounds of nuts in a year), along with rosewood and mahogany trees, whose beautiful hardwood is always much in demand for fine furniture. The extremely fertile Atlantic forest is also famous for other native woods, including jacaranda and ipê, with its bright purple and yellow blossoms.
Other Brazilian trees are more sought after for their fruits than for their wood. Throughout the tropical zones of the coast and the interior, Brazilians depend on diverse varieties of local palms. The Amazon is renowned for many fruit-bearing species, particularly those that yield pupunha and the energy-packed açai. In Ceará  and Maranhão , livelihoods depend upon the carnaúba and babaçu palms whose all-purpose fruits and fibers are used to make products ranging from wax, cooking oil, and soap to rope, timber, and thatch. Alagoas and northern Bahia  are lined with swaying plantations of coconut palms, while southern Bahia is where you’ll find the dendê palm, whose bright orange oil is used in Bahian cuisine. In the Cerrado, the fruit of the buriti palm is also made into various delicacies.
Fruit trees are everywhere you go, even in cities. In the Amazon, you can feast on cupuaçu, bacuri, and muriti, while the Northeast is rife with mango, papaya, cajú (cashew), jaca (jackfruit), graviola, mangaba, and guava trees. The Cerrado boasts exotic species such as pequi, araticum, and cagaíta. Bananas are ubiquitous and there are many types, ranging from the tiny banana nanica (dwarf banana) to the immense banana pacova, which can measure up to 50 centimeters (20 inches). In southern Brazil, you can still glimpse the umbrella-shaped araucárias, a variety of pine tree whose nuts were much appreciated by local indigenous groups back in the days when these trees were rampant.
Although you’ll rarely find them in florists’ shops (when buying flowers, Brazilians weirdly prefer to go with decidedly nontropical roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums), in the wild you’ll be treated to more than 200 species of delicate and brightly colored orchids as well as bright red heliconia, birds of paradise, and glossy anthuriums. In the Amazon, the giant lilies that emerge from the platter-sized pads of the Victoria amazonica are captivating because of their size and because they change color during each day of their three-day life-span. Aside from the beauty of many Brazilian plants, their leaves and roots are used extensively for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.