COMMONLY FOUND PLANTS IN ECUADOR'S CLOUD FOREST
The plant is known as Xanthosoma grows enormous leaves and is nicknamed 'Elephant's Ear.' It is also called the 'poor man's umbrella' because the leaf hardly ever gets damaged and people in the countryside effectively use it as an umbrella in the rain.
You can touch the leaf without a problem, but if it is damaged by you (or an insect), a white, toxic liquid will seep out. This liquid can burn your skin and itches so much that you are likely to damage your skin by scratching. In order to use a leaf as an umbrella you have to cut the stem low enough for the liquid to seep out below your hand!
THE STRANGLER FIG
Ficus Aurea is a strangler fig. In figs of this group, seed germination usually takes place in the canopy of a host tree with the seedling living as an epiphyte until its roots establish contact with the ground.
After that, it enlarges and strangles its host, eventually becoming a free-standing tree in its own right when the host tree rots away.
Individuals may reach 30 m (100 ft) in height. Like all figs, it has an obligate mutualism with fig wasps: figs are only pollinated by fig wasps, and fig wasps can only reproduce in fig flowers. The tree provides habitat, food and shelter for a host of tropical lifeforms including epiphytes, birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. Ficus Aurea is used in traditional medicine, for live fencing, as an ornamental, and as a bonsai.