SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Stilt roots. The stilt roots of the palm, Iriartea deltoidia in the rainforest. The roots of this palm can be seen spreading above the ground. Stilt roots (also known as prop roots) emerge from the main trunk and act as a form of buttress. They lend extra support to trees with very wide spreading branches. This is in addition to the root's main roles of subterranean support and absorption of water and minerals. Stilt roots are found on a large number of tropical trees. In forests prone to flooding, such as mangroves, stilt roots can serve to aerate the roots. Photographed in Ecuador.
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