In the humid tropics, mixed broadleaf forest is very common and conspicuous in areas undisturbed by human activity. On small tropical islands like the Marshalls, this type of forest has a low to medium height with a closed canopy (a forest in which there is little or no open space between the topmost layers of the leaves, twigs, and branches). The mixed broadleaf atoll forest of the Marshalls is usually composed of relatively few species of trees, shrubs, and herbs. Epiphytes (plants living on the surfaces of other plants) such as kartōp, the "bird's nest fern" (Asplenium nidus) are found in the wetter southern atolls, but there are only a few species of these so-called "air plants" in the atoll forests of most of the Marshall Islands.
Several of the woody and other plants in the atoll forests of the Marshall Islands are listed below. It should be noted that some of these plants are found only on the more humid islands of the southern Marshalls. Click on any of these plant names to see illustrations and information about each species listed.