No matter where you travel around the island of Barbados you will be forever encompassed by the plants and flora that engulf your very presence. Though the island is developed, you can't help but stand in awe at the overwhelming amount of vegetation there is to offer. Based on the multitudes of plants and flora the island of Barbados has to offer, a number of natural landscapes have been selected as major collectors of tropical plants for tourists and locals alike to view.
The island of Barbados is a part of the Lesser Antilles where there are approximately 2100 species of indigenous plants. Despite this, only about 700 species of these indigenous plants are hosted by Barbados with a mere 2 being endemic to island. There are, a gully shrub, Phyllanthus andersonii and a twiner of dry woodland, Metastelma barbadense.
Barbados' rain forest provides shelter for wild animals such as green monkeys, hares, mongooses and a variety of colorful tropical birds.
Despite efforts to preserve as much as the natural plants that can be found in Barbados, there is still an alarming number of plants that can be found in gullies around the island. Unfortunately, these plants are at the mercy of the public and so there is no real guarantee that a lot of them will see the fullness of their time.
Managing Director at the Welchman Hall Gully, Debra Branker, believes that Welchman Hall Gully presents the best environment for creating a nursery for the endangered native plants in the face of an ever increasing task and so, over the past few years has been searching the length and breadth of the island for species she already knows to be lessening in number but has also stumbled upon others she saw for the first time.
"The project is something I have been very passionate about since 2002. At first, my interest was medicinal plants, but then it became plants which persons seemed to know less about and their whereabouts. I did some research and found out that there are pockets around the island and that we were losing them."
"Medicinal plants are pretty safe; people still use and propagate them as there is still a widespread interest in them, but native plants, which tend to look ‘weedy’ and are less known, needed some help".
She says she has discovered several plants since she started, even noticing plants within the Welchman Hall Gully she had never registered before, resulting in her leaving alone any growth that she does not recognise.
"I have noticed about five different native plants that are coming back including the black sage, ceraseed and bitter bark... and interestingly, the 'Jack in the Box' tree can no longer be found in the Jack in the Box Gully but rather scarcely within Turners Hall Woods," she stated.
Above extract taken from August 18, 2010 edition of the Barbados Advocate.
In an effort to expose you to the many plants that exist on the island of Barbados, we invite you to take a look at the following categories throughout:- Crops, Flowers, Plants, Trees and Trees (fruit).