"Buck Island Reef National Monument, Virgin Islands" by National Park Service , public domain

Virgin Islands


brochure Virgin Islands - Trees

Trees at Virgin Islands National Park (NP). Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Seashore Trees Mangrove Rhizophora mangle Black, white and red mangroves are common species along our tropical shores. The red shown here, extends shorelines or creates islands with it's arching stilt roots. Fruit Trees Sugar Apple Annona squamosa A small deciduous tree attaining 10-20 ft. in height with irregular spreading branches. Well known for its sweet edible fruit, resembling hand grenades in appearance. This familiar shoreline tree is easy to identify by its large round leathery leaves. It bears clusters of green, ripening to purple, fruits that are edible. Maho* Virgin Islands National Park Common Trees of Virgin Islands National Park Ginger Thomas* Seagrape Cocoloba uvifera National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Mango* Tecoma stans Mangifera indica An excellent hardy shade tree with lance shaped leaves and bearing one of the finest tropical fruits. One of many introduced species. Its sap may cause dermatitis. Thespesia populnea This coastal tree, for which Maho Bay was named, is characterized by large bell-shaped flowers that turn from pale yellow to purple. It has heart shaped leaves and green seed pods that turn brown. Manchineel Hippomane mancine/la This is a very poisonous tree with shiny , small oval leaves. It can grow to 40 ft. in height, and bears small crabapplesized fruits that are highly toxic. The tree's white sap is also very harmful. Genip* Melicoccus bijugatus This large deciduous tree has gray blotchy bark and dark green leaves . The clustered edible fruits are quarter sized with green leathery skin, a single large seed and tart pulpy fruit. Some common trees within the Park are nonnative or naturalized (exotic*), and may be displacing native (indigenous) flora and fauna . Virgin Islands National Park is implementing a management program to control the invasive exotics, in order to protect the native trees. Ginger Thomas (also yellow cedar or yellow elder) is a nonnative tree or shrub, that produces the official flower of the US Virgin Islands. It is found along roadsides with bright yellow, trumpet shaped flowers, and long, narrow seed pods. Ginger Thomas usually blooms during extended rainy periods. Flamboyant * This is a guide to the most commonly found trees in Virgin Islands National Park The majority of these trees can be seen at popular sitesinthepark suchasTrunkBay, Annaberg, or alonghiking trails. The Park is home to over 400 tree species. Many of these have several names due to the complex cultural heritage of the island. Pimenta racemosa Also: Royal Poinciana A large tree with 2 foot long "feathery" leaves and a brilliant spreading crown ofbloodorange flowers, blooming twice a year. Its long woody "shak shak" seed pods used in calypso and local scratchband music. A smooth barked tree with dark green, shiny fragrant leaves. The leaves are used medicinally and the oil from the leaves for aftershave. Easily seen around the Cinnamon Bay ruins, it is still locally used for cooking, however it should not be confused with the more widely used laurel bay leaf. Teyer Palm Coccothrinax a/ta The only remaining native palm. Used in traditional basketry, fish traps, ' brooms and roof thatching. These trees prefer moist habitats and grow with tall slender trunks. iilili~l'll~~ Bay Rum Delonix regia Gumbo Limbo Frangipani Bursera Simaruba Plumeria alba Also: Turpentine or Tourist Tree. Identify this dry forest tree by its peeling red bark (or skin!). The leaves and sap smell like turpentine and have many medicinal properties. This attractive native tree with milky sap, is easily distinguished by its Jong narrow lance-shaped leaves and clusters of fragrant waxy, white flowers. It grows in dry areas, and is often deleafed by a moth caterpillar. Calabash Crescentia cujete A distinctive tree with leaves growing directly off the main branches. The fruit can grow to basketball size, and when dried , used as gourds, rattles or ornamental bowls. Lignum Vitae Tamarind* Guaiacum officinale Tamarindus indica A slow growing evergreen with small orange seedpods It blooms twice a year with pale blue flowers . It has an extremely dense wood that will sink in water and was used for ball bearings. Large trees with feathery ' leaves are often found in roadways and trails. They bear pulpy bean shaped seed pods. The fruit is used to make can-dies, juices or eaten raw. It is a tasty ingredient in Worcester-shire sauce. Noni I starvation fruit Marinda citrifolia Also: Painkiller plant It can be seen at the entrance to Trunk Bay. Iden. tifiable by large, oval leaves ~ and irregularly shaped, whitish fruit, palatable to animals and birds only, also ._'2~·~•used in modern, alternative medicine . Kapok* Ceiba pentandra Also: Silk Cotton Tree. Can be found on the Reef bay trail with huge buttressing roots. Its seed pods release fluffy silky material used for stuffing mattress cushions and life jackets. Indigenous people carved canoes and drums from the trunk. Monkey No Climb* Hura crepitans Easily identifiable by its bark, which is covered with dense sharp thorns. Miniature pumpkin shaped seed pods were once used as receptacles for sand used to blot ink on a writing quill, hence the nickname Sandbox tree.

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