Canopy (biology)

The canopy of a forest in Sabah, Malaysia
Canopy of tropical evergreen forest, Andaman Islands
Canopy layers of primary tropical forest, Thailand
Macrocystis pyrifera – giant kelp – forming the canopy of a kelp forest
Bamboo canopy in the Western Ghats of India
A monkey-ladder vine canopy over a road

Aboveground portion of a plant cropping or crop, formed by the collection of individual plant crowns.

- Canopy (biology)

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Shade tree

A group of Laysan albatrosses resting beneath the canopy of a fig, a common shade tree in many parts of the world.
Native across Europe and into Western Asia, the Norway maple was introduced to North America in the mid-1700s as a shade tree, where it has since become naturalised.
Paperbark trees have a large canopy, supplying adequate shade.
Oaks are popular shade trees.
A shade-providing elm tree.
The twisting habit of angophoras provide good shade.

A shade tree is a large tree whose primary role is to provide shade in the surrounding environment due to its spreading canopy and crown, where it may give shelter from sunlight in the heat of the summer for people who seek recreational needs in urban parks and house yards, and thus, also protecting them from the sun's harmful UV rays and sunburns.


Organism that grows on the surface of a plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water or from debris accumulating around it.

Tillandsia bourgaei growing on an oak tree in Mexico

Epiphytic plants attached to their hosts high in the canopy have an advantage over herbs restricted to the ground where there is less light and herbivores may be more active.

Crown (botany)

Individual plant's aboveground parts, including stems, leaves, and reproductive structures.

Tree crown

A plant community canopy consists of one or more plant crowns growing in a given area.

Tropical rainforest

No dry season – all months have an average precipitation of at least 60 mm – and may also be referred to as lowland equatorial evergreen rainforest.

An area of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. The tropical rainforests of South America contain the largest diversity of species on Earth.
Location of tropical (dark green) and temperate/subtropical (light green) rainforests in the world.
Tropical rainforest climate zones (Af).
Amazon River rain forest in Peru
Hillawe Falls in the Hawaiian tropical rainforests in the United States
Daintree "rainforest" in Queensland is actually a seasonal tropical forest.
Western lowland gorilla
The canopy at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia
Artificial tropical rainforest in Barcelona
Young orangutan at Bukit Lawang, Sumatra
Members of an uncontacted tribe encountered in the Brazilian state of Acre in 2009
Pygmy hunter-gatherers in the Congo Basin in 2014
Canopy walkway for seeing the diverse tropical forest in Costa Rica
Loss of primary (old-growth) forest in the tropics has continued its upward trend, with fire-related losses contributing an increasing portion.
The Ok Tedi Mine in southwestern Papua New Guinea
An area of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. The tropical rainforests of South America contain the largest diversity of species on Earth.

The emergent layer contains a small number of very large trees, called emergents, which grow above the general canopy, reaching heights of 45–55 m, although on occasion a few species will grow to 70–80 m tall.


Perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, usually supporting branches and leaves.

Common ash (Fraxinus excelsior), a deciduous broad-leaved (angiosperm) tree
European larch (Larix decidua), a coniferous tree which is also deciduous
Diagram of secondary growth in a eudicot or coniferous tree showing idealised vertical and horizontal sections. A new layer of wood is added in each growing season, thickening the stem, existing branches and roots.
Tall herbaceous monocotyledonous plants such as banana lack secondary growth, but are trees under the broadest definition.
The Daintree Rainforest
Conifers in the Swabian alps
A young red pine (Pinus resinosa) with spread of roots visible, as a result of soil erosion
Buttress roots of the kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra)
Northern beech (Fagus sylvatica) trunk in autumn
A section of yew (Taxus baccata) showing 27 annual growth rings, pale sapwood and dark heartwood
Buds, leaves, flowers and fruit of oak (Quercus robur)
Buds, leaves and reproductive structures of white fir (Abies alba)
Form, leaves and reproductive structures of queen sago (Cycas circinalis)
Dormant Magnolia bud
Wind dispersed seed of elm (Ulmus), ash (Fraxinus) and maple (Acer)
Cracked thorny skin of a Aesculus tree seed
Lepidodendron, an extinct lycophyte tree
Palms and cycads as they might have appeared in the middle Tertiary
Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) tapped to collect sap for maple syrup
Selling firewood at a market
Roof trusses made from softwood
Trees in art: Weeping Willow, Claude Monet, 1918
Informal upright style of bonsai on a juniper tree
People trees, by Pooktre
Recently stripped cork oak (Quercus suber)
Alleé of London plane trees (Platanus × acerifolia) in garden
Latex collecting from a rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis)
Yggdrasil, the World Ash of Norse mythology
The massive Bronze Sacred Tree (height 396 cm) from Sanxingdui, Shu
The General Sherman Tree, thought to be the world's largest by volume

The crown is the spreading top of a tree including the branches and leaves, while the uppermost layer in a forest, formed by the crowns of the trees, is known as the canopy.

Forest ecology

Scientific study of the interrelated patterns, processes, flora, fauna and ecosystems in forests.

The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, Australia
Redwood tree in northern California forest, where many trees are managed for preservation and longevity
Overall decline in a forest-specialist index for 268 forest vertebrate species (455 populations), 1970–2014, from the Food and Agriculture Organization publication The State of the World's Forests 2020. Forests, biodiversity and people – In brief
Forest ecologists are interested in the effects of large disturbances, such as wildfires. Montana, United States.
Forest regrowth after a forest fire, Cascade Range, United States

For example, the wild turkey thrives when uneven heights and canopy variations exist and its numbers are diminished by even aged timber management.

Plant community

Collection or association of plant species within a designated geographical unit, which forms a relatively uniform patch, distinguishable from neighboring patches of different vegetation types.

Alpine Heathland plant community at High Shelf Camp near Mount Anne, Tasmania, Australia

For example, a forest (a community of trees) includes the overstory, or upper tree layer of the canopy, as well as the understory, a layer consisting of trees and shrubs located beneath the canopy but above the forest floor.


Mixed-species tangle of lianas in tropical Australia
Lianas in Udawattakele, Sri Lanka
A canopy of Entada gigas that has formed over a monkey ladder vine (Bauhinia glabra) on Kauai, Hawaii
Liana tangle across a forest in the Western Ghats

A liana is a long-stemmed, woody vine that is rooted in the soil at ground level and uses trees, as well as other means of vertical support, to climb up to the canopy in search of direct sunlight.


Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna) on forest floor in spring
Tree base showing moss understory limit

In forestry and ecology, understory (American English), or understorey (Commonwealth English), also known as underbrush or undergrowth, comprises plant life growing beneath the forest canopy without penetrating it to any great extent, but above the forest floor.


Location of tropical (dark green) and temperate/subtropical (light green) rainforests in the world.
Worldwide tropical rainforest climate zones.
General distribution of temperate rainforests
Temperate rainforest in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in Canada
The canopy at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia showing crown shyness
Rainforest in the Blue Mountains, Australia
Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest, taken from a plane.
Satellite photograph of the haze above Borneo and Sumatra, 24 September 2015
View of the temperate rain forest in Mount Revelstoke National Park, British Columbia, Canada
A Kermode bear from the Great Bear Rainforest, Canada
A Bengal tiger in Mudumalai National Park, India
A jaguar in the Amazon Rainforest, South America
Western lowland gorilla in the African rainforest
Yellow anacondas reside in the Amazon basin
Lion-tailed macaque in Silent Valley National Park, India
A Macaw in the Amazon rainforest

Rainforests are characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy, moisture-dependent vegetation, the presence of epiphytes and lianas and the absence of wildfire.