Ever since I started living in Canada, and took a few trips to the jungles of Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, whenever I return to Southern Indiana for a visit, I am struck by just how "tropical" it is. They do experience a winter complete with snow and freezing weather, but the summers are very hot and humid, allowing all those jungly things that can make it through the winter, to thrive.
The photo you see is of an "Elephant Ear" plant my sister has growing in her garden. (Excuse my ugly mug, but I wanted to show you how big it was in comparison to a person). My sister does have to dig up the tuber to store in the house over winter but once she puts it back in the ground, and the warmer temperatures arrive in the spring, it is ready to grow like nothing had happened. Below are a couple of other shots of the plant.
Besides this elephant ear, the other tropical characteristics I find here are all the grape, and other vines that wrap and hang from the trees, and all the loud night noises. The warm night air is filled with the sounds of crickets and other small night creatures, all making as much noise as they can as they communicate with each other. They manage to make an incredible din.