Characteristics of Plants
The Temperate Rainforest is covered with a thick layers and layers of lush, green plant life.

The plant life in the Temperate Rainforest biome is very varied because of the mild climate that is suitable to so many plants. But all the plants are interlinked; they each create an environment that is suitable for another plant.

The trees are perhaps the most famous plants in this biome. The heavy rainfall in this area allows them to grow incredibly tall; some trees, when fully grown, are as tall as 85 m (280 ft). These trees provide a place for mosses and other epiphytes to grow on. Also, the thick, lush canopies provide enough shade to create a favourable environment smaller trees like the vine maple and dogwood to form the understory level. The forest floor is covered with so much plant life that often the soil cannot be seen.

Large areas of this biome are formed by old-growth forests. Old-growth forests are filled with the living and the dead, the young and the old. It's not surprising in this biome to find ancient trees that are several hundred years old growing beside small seedlings. Then there are snags, dense understory shrubbery, and logs on the forest floor. As Parks Canada would describe it, old-growth forests in the Temperate Rainforest biome have "an abundance of green in more shades than you can count, no matter what the time of year."

Profile: Sitka Spruce
A tall, majestic Sitka spruce in the Temperate Rainforest.

The Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) is probably the Temperate Rainforest's most famous tree. This is because it is the world's largest species of spruce and the third tallest conifer species in the world. They can grow up to 96 m (314 ft) tall, but often, they only average a height of 50 to 70 m (164 to 229 ft) with a trunk diameter of up to 5 m (16 ft). Besides from their immense size, they can be recognized by their broad crown of horizontal branches and straight trunk covered with thin, flaky bark that is composed of round plates 50 to 200 mm (2 to 8 in) in diameter. The short (15 to 20 mm), stiff, bluish-green needles of a Sitka spruce are arranged on the twigs in a spiral pattern.

The Sitka spruce was once used by Aboriginal people to create hats, baskets, ropes, fishing line, and medicine. In addition, the pitch is used to waterproof boats and fishing gear. Nowadays, the Sitka spruce is mainly valued for its wood, which is used for general construction and shipbuilding. As it also has excellent acoustic properties, it is also used in making instruments such as pianos, violins, and guitars.