Tropical Rainforest Plants
Zingiber officinale
Ginger family
Native to southern Asia, ginger is now grown throughout the tropics with major production in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Jamaica, and India. The plant's rhizome (stem that grows at ground level like iris) is used fresh as well as dried and ground. It is a common ingredient in Asian cooking and flavors ginger snaps, ginger ale, ginger beer, ginger cake, and pumpkin pie.

Black PepperBlack Pepper
Piper nigrum
Pepper family
Black pepper and hot pepper (Capsicum) are not closely related. Black pepper originated in India and Cambodia and was the spice that, above all, drove the spice trade. The green, immature fruits of the pepper vine are harvested and dried, turning black upon drying. White pepper is obtained by letting the "berries" turn red (ripen) and then removing the outer husk, leaving the straw-colored "kernel". It is milder than black pepper.

Artocarpus heterophyllus
Mulberry family
Native to Southeast Asia, jackfruit is now grown throughout the tropics. The fruits can weigh up to 100 pounds and are produced directly on the trunks and branches. Fruits are green or yellow and "warty" on the surface. Inside, the seeds are surrounded with a fragrant yellow flesh tasting like pineapple and bananas. The seeds are also eaten boiled or roasted.

Calamus spp.,
Daemonorops spp.
Palm family
Native to Asia, rattan is the collective name for the climbing palms. They are rope-like, woody climbing plants that can grow to 600 feet long. After being collected from the forest the stems are boiled in oil and scoured in sand or sawdust to remove their natural gums and resins. The outer skins are removed and used to weave furniture, baskets, screens, and chair seats. The inner core is used for making baskets.

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