Flora of the Pantanal in Mato Grosso

The flora of the Pantanal in Mato Grosso is surprising and exuberant. The Pantanal landscape is made up of fragments of various ecosystems, with an extraordinary diversity of plant species.

An intricate mosaic in which various plant formations intertwine, typical of biomes such as the Cerrado (to the east, north and south), the Chaco (to the south-west), the Atlantic Rainforest (to the south and south-east), as well as species from the Amazon Rainforest (to the north) and the Bolivian Chiquitan Dry Forest (to the north-west).

Ipê-roxo no Pantanal Matogrossense
Ipê-roxo no Pantanal Matogrossense

In the largest floodplain on the planet, samples of biomes appear isolated in certain stretches or disconcertingly mixed together.

It is a synthesis of ecosystems that stretches across the entire length of the Pantanal and is home to around 1,800 species of plants.

One of the best known and most beautiful trees is the piúva, the regional name for the purple ipê.

In the Pantanal, ipê trees are generically called “paratudo”, a term that reveals the multiple uses of their wood.

There are also around 250 species of aquatic plants, such as aguapé and capim-santa-luzia, which play a fundamental role: they contribute to the depollution of bodies of water, as they assimilate heavy metals through their roots, and offer shelter to fish in the early stages of their lives.

Clusters of aquatic vegetation form bulky masses called camalots, which are carried by the current and move along rivers.

In calm, still waters, other species flourish, such as nymphs and the Amazon water lily.

Flora e Vegetação do Pantanal Matogrossense


The type of vegetation and flora that predominates in each region depends on its altitude.

In low, humid terrain, grasses spread over the ground: these are the so-called “campos limpos”, used for grazing.

In areas where the soil is sandy and acidic, typical cerrado species predominate.

These are medium-sized trees with thick, fire-resistant bark, such as pequi, aroeira and embiruçu.

Large and medium-sized trees are interspersed along the watercourses – these are the typical riparian or gallery forests, made up of tucuns, jenipapos, tarumãs and timbós, among others.

Near the rivers, and in places where the soil is always flooded, grow plants that are peculiar to freshwater wetlands, such as arrowroot, taboos, piris and banana trees.

In Bonito, the bacuri or acuri stands out, a palm tree with multiple uses. The leaves are used to feed cattle and to cover houses. The fibres are used to make handicrafts.

A liqueur is extracted from the stem and jams are made from the pulp.

The symbol of the Pantanal’s plants, however, is the carandá, a palm up to 10 metres high, with an almost smooth trunk and fan-shaped foliage, used to build houses – its wood is very resistant to water infiltration – and to make mats, baskets and fans.

In some stretches, they cluster together to form carandazais: a common phenomenon in the region are parks (named after the concentration of trees of the same species).

In stretches of dry, arid soil and at some higher altitude points, mandacarus, juazeiros, caraguatás and barrigudas sprout up, making up a surprising caatinga landscape.

See the following publications on the Pantanal of Mato Grosso:

  1. Watching Mammals and Reptiles in the Pantanal
  2. Fishing in the Pantanal – Best places, baits, methods and seasons
  3. Most common fish species in the Pantanal
  4. Bird watching in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso
  5. Most common bird species in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso
  6. Flora of the Pantanal of Mato Grosso
  7. Fauna of the Pantanal of Mato Grosso
  8. Mato Grosso Pantanal – Geography, Climate, Soil and Rivers
  9. History of the Mato Grosso Pantanal – Discovery and Economic Development
  10. Southern Pantanal Region
  11. North Pantanal Region
  12. Why go to the Pantanal in Mato Grosso?

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