• close family • small boat • big world •

Caribbean Flora: Plants

November 9, 2015

by Paula
At sea on a passage

Lush, verdant, flourishing, abundant. It's easy to run out of adjectives when writing about the flora on Caribbean islands.  The year-round sunlight, intense heat, and moist air makes for a continuous growing season in which a multitude of plants thrive. Far too rich to describe in just one blog post, I'll share the details of the plants, flowers, and fruits we've seen in three installments. (This is the first).

An avid plant-lover back on land, I enjoyed tending to those in my garden and in the house. It's fun to see some of the same varieties growing here, so much happier than their distant cousins trapped in a pot in my dark and dry house. I'm still astounded by the gigantic size of these plants, and no hike is complete without my insisting the kids "just look at how big this leaf is!!" Even more striking than the size are the colors: robust reds, brilliant yellows, purples, oranges, browns, and a zillion shades of green. And those are just the leaves.

They grow so big!

Fantastic root structures

Some tree trunks are like sculptures

The thorns are serious here

The moss and fungus are gorgeous too

Unusual leaf shapes

The Travelers Palm is named for two reasons. When left undisturbed, it grows in an east-west orientation. In addition, the stalks hold water, to relieve the thirsty traveler.

The leaf color can look like splattered paint

The Decoration Bead plants have seeds that are pretty enough to be used in jewelry

In this plant, new growth comes in bright green and yellow, before turning intense red and deep green

The colors are so varied and each one is gorgeous

Some plants are beautifully fragrant, like this Ylang Ylang

I love this plant with my two favorite colors, purple and green!