10 tropical trees to spot from our new Rainforest Aerial Walkway

August 20, 2013
Author: Carys Barriball

You can get a wonderful new perspective on the tropical trees in our Biome from our brand new Rainforest Aerial Walkway. Here’s a little guide to what you’ll see when you’re high up on our Walkway:

Papaya (Carica papaya)

Growing up to 10m high with leaves 70cm in diameter at the top of it’s trunk, this tree is hard to miss on your Walkway adventure. Its versatile fruit is used for food, medicines and cosmetics.

papaya plant

Cassava (Manihot esculenta)

This tuberous woody perennial plant is the third largest carbohydrate supplier in the tropics. The tubers are ground to make flour or eaten like potatoes.

Cassava

African quinine (Rauvolfia caffra)

Hanging over your head as you near the top of the Walkway is the African quinine. While it’s not the species that treats malaria (that one’s from South America), it is a major medicinal tree in its own right. The tree is also used as soft timber and its roots add potency to banana beer.

African quinine

Cola (Cola nitida)

This West African rainforest tree once flavoured the fizzy drink, Coca-Cola. In Nigeria cola is grown next to the house and a nut is picked off and given to visitors as a warm welcome. Its pale yellow flowers with deep red lines running along the inside of the petals will add a splash of colour to the green foliage surrounding your head.

African green heart (Pipadeniastrum africanum)

Keeping you safe on your treetop journey our walkway hand rails are made from African green heart timber. The timber was sourced locally from Holifield Farm, who recovered it from Falmouth Docks when they burnt down years ago. This huge buttress-rooted tree is used in marine construction, traditionally canoes.

Sausage tree (Kigelia africana)

This tree is named after the shape of its fruit, which is used to flavour beer. In times of famine the seeds are ground into flour and used to make other food products such as bread. When the striking dark red tubular flowers are in bloom they are accompanied by an unpleasant smell.

sausage tree

Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon)

This was the original ebony used for the furniture found in the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamen. Today it is used for carvings and to make musical instruments, but not until it’s reached at least 70 years old. The dark grey bark and small oval leaves polka dot the canopy.

Red stinkwood  (Prunus africana)

A liquid extract of the bark is used  in the fight against prostate cancer and the trunk’s hard wood is used for timber. Red stinkwood can be harvested sustainably every four to five years but increased demand and over-exploitation has led to it becoming endangered.

Red Stinkwood

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)

The edible pod-like fruit is used in cuisines around the world. It is the sour in sweet and sour and used to make Worcester and HP sauce. The tamarind’s crown has an irregular vase-shaped outline with dense foliage.

Tamarind

Crepe jasmine (Tabernaemontana divaricate)

Inspired by a trip to Eden, beauty company Estée Lauder use crepe jasmine in their perfume Beyond Paradise to provide a floral middle note to the fragrance. The five-petal pinwheel white blossom is borne in small clusters at the stem tips and are worth a sniff if they are within reach.

Crepe Jasmine

Visiting our Rainforest Aerial Walkway

Admission to the Walkway is included in the normal ticket price to Eden and is open to public every day during our normal opening times. You can get 15% off by booking online in advance.

The entire Walkway is accessible to wheelchairs and buggies. We have worked with the Sensory Trust to make sure the experience is great for all ages and abilities.

With thanks to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Reader Walker, Dinesh Valke and Srinivasan G for the photos, some of which are not taken in our Rainforest Biome.

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One response to 10 tropical trees to spot from our new Rainforest Aerial Walkway

  1. Carol Heathcote says:

    We’ve been coming to Eden for years and we’ve watched it grow … in the case of trees in the Rainforest biome, literally ! My husband uses a mobility scooter and can vouch for the fact that the new walkway is accessible for disabled visitors, The gradient is gentle and it’s not until you look out from the platform that you realise how high you are. A wonderful experience. You must go !

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