In terms of the economy, the Rubber Tree (Hevea brasiliensis) remains one of Brazil’s most important floral species. It can be farmed on a massive scale, but is also found growing wildly. This tree produces the material needed to produce all products made from latex. Brazil is also the home of the hardwoods, including Mahogany, which is now protected due to its popularity in both the local and the international markets.
The flora of Brazil also includes edible fruits, many of which can only be found in the rainforests. These include açaí and cupuaçu as well as guaraná, famed for being a natural source of energy.
Because of the rapid development of Brazil, however, the flora (and, therefore, fauna) of the country is under major threat. The reasons behind this include 1) deforestation, 2) pollution, 3) overpopulation, 4) industrialisation and 5) logging. There are currently almost 400 plant species that are under the threat of becoming extinct. Approximately 50 of these are critically endangered. A number of these endangered species include those used for medicinal purposes in human beings, making them even more valuable. These include:
• Pata de Vaca
• Ginseng brasileiro
• Arnica do Cerrado
• Chapeu de Couro
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