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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Looking at St. Lucia’s Endemic Plants

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

The forestry Department aims to catalogue every plant species found on the island, whether it be accessible or remote, common or rare.
At present there are hundreds of plant species catalogued in the herbarium of the Forestry Department.

The herbarium being where a collection of preserved plants are stored, catalogued, and arranged systematically for study by professionals and amateurs alike. This collection is a vital reference for plant identification, location etc. and is one of a kind in St. Lucia.

Research still has to be done on many of our native or endemic plants to determine for instance if there are any useful medicinal properties. We never stop learning right? For all we know one of our native plants could have properties for treating cancer, diabetes and many of the ailments which plague us today. For this and many other reasons it’s important to preserve our endemic plant species.

Botanical name:  Lobelia santa-luciae
Lobelia santa-luciae is a common shrub of elfin shrub lands on Mount Gimie/Piton Troumassé range.

Botanical name:  Gonolobus iyanolensis
This is a vine of semi-open, semi-evergreen seasonal forest and forest landslides. It is permanently established only in the Piton area but adventives elsewhere.

Local name:  Bwa senn
Botanical name:  Miconia secunda
Miconia secunda is a fairly rare tree of the understory of lower montane and montane rain forest

Local name:  Maho pimen gwan bwa
Botanical name:  Daphnopsis macrocarpa 
Maho pimen gwa bwa is an understory tree or shrub of the lower montane rainforest. It is rather rare. The bark of this plant was used by the early generation for making ropes.