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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Do You Know Your Native Plants?

By: Forestry Department/ Roger Graveson
Photos: © Roger Graveson

In the past we have shared information on endemic birds and reptiles. In this issue we would like to introduce you to some of our endemic / native plants.

What is an endemic plant? It is a plant that occurs naturally in one place and nowhere else. An endemic species may restrict to a specific area such as an island or continent.

Vegetation is one of the earth’s most vital natural resources. Only indigenous /endemic vegetation can support local animals, birds and insect populations. Over thousands of years they have developed and adapted together and are reliant on each other for pollination, habitat etc.

As well as maintaining biodiversity vegetation cleans the air, filters water, and stabilizes the soil. This is why it is imperative that our slash and burn agricultural practices and deforestation must cease if we are to maintain a healthy, vibrant environment ensuring a better quality of life.

Local name: Bwa senn
Botanical name: Miconia Luciana
This is a small tree or shrub of lower montane forest and forest edge, and roadsides close to the forest which is very common.

 Local name: Bwa mang, Palitivy√© wouj
Botanical name: Chrysochlamys caribaea
Bwa mang is a quite common tree of lower montane, montane and cloud montane rainforest. It is also common in steep ravines and its sap is almost white.

Botanical name: Acalypha elizabethiae
This is a rare shrub of semi-open and shady Caribbean moist forest, semi-open river valleys at lower elevations and, rarely, on exposed slopes in montane tropical rainforest.

Botanical name: Bernardia laurentii

This was discovered by a St Lucian, Laurent Jn Pierre. It is a shrub of open, rocky, dry summit of Petit Piton.  It is quite common but in a very small area.

More information about Endemic plants!