The array of plant life is understandably impressive in a country with the highest and lowest points in the West Indies, and places where it never rains and others where it never stops raining. The most common type of life zone is subtropical forest, which is found in lowland areas and on the floors and slopes of most valleys. This is the lush, green, exotic and eminently healthy landscape usually associated with the Caribbean. It is characterized by royal palms, coconut palms, Hispaniolan mahogany, West Indian cedar, wild olive, American muskwood and others. Meanwhile, the Dominican coastline has its fair share of red, white and button mangroves - although not as many as some Caribbean countries due to the numerous cliffs around the country's coast. As you go up into the highland regions, you start to see mountain forests with palms, pines (the Creolean pine is the most common), ferns and hundreds of different species of orchid. In stark contrast, the desert regions - in the southwest of the Dominican Republic, for example - have arid landscapes where multi-shaped cacti predominate.
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