Viewed from above, the trees of a tropical rainforest's canopy resemble a green carpet, their crowns closely interlaced and often joined by woody climbers.

Seen from below, their tall straight trunks tower up from the floor of the tropical rainforest.

These trees are often devoid of branches and twigs for the first 60 to 80 feet (18 to 24m) and then suddenly break up into several huge branches that spread out almost horizontally before they divide to form the flattened crowns of the canopy.

Many of the largest species develop buttresses at the base of their trunks, while some of the smaller trees are supported on a strange pyramid of stilt roots.

The bark of some canopy trees is thin and smooth. Near the ground it may bear a sparse covering of mosses and lichens, but the sheltered parts between the buttresses frequently have dense growths of moss or patches of delicate filmy ferns.

Below the vault of the upper canopy are many medium-sized trees. Some are young and will eventually reach the canopy.

Others are smaller at maturity, and have elongated crowns that fill the gaps between the large, flat crowns of the main canopy trees.

In the tropical rainforest, there may be hundreds of different tree species in the same area.

In comparison, one tree species, such a beech or oak, usually dominates a temperate forest.