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You are here Anguilla Guide NATURE

Anguilla Trees and Bush

Local and biological names for trees and bush on Anguilla. Since Anguilla is made up of coral rock with limited soil and water the plant life has adapted to these harsh conditions. The wind is also a factor, forcing many trees that would normally be at least 20 ft. high to remain around the wind level of no more than 10 ft. The trees often bend to the wind and give the appearance of being constantly wind blown.
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Loblolly
Loblolly
Loblolly Pisonia subcordata,
This soft wood tree grows all over the island and resembles a giant bonsai. Since the mottled trunk stores water for periods of drought the tree grows in unusual spurts creating strange formations throughout its life. Often several foundation branches will form one large base trunk that spreads across a large area of ground and rock. Adept at handling wind the tree bends to its will and often has an offset appearance. The Loblolly has broad round smooth leaves that have a distinct center fold. Once a year the tree sheds it leaves and the female trees create pod batches. These pods eventually fall to the ground and are picked up by birds and animals or the wind. The pods have a Velcro like end and large groups will attach themselves to goats or other animals passing by the tree.
Related to bougainvillea. This plant has a water holding trunk.


Neems Tree with blossoms
Neems Tree with blossoms
NeemsAzdirachta indica
The Neems is an easy grower in Anguilla but is not a popular garden tree. Many locals believe that planted anywhere near a cistern will eventually end in disaster. The Neems is an aggressive water searcher and the roots will travel great distances in search of a supply. The taproot (at least in young specimens) may be as much as twice the height of the tree.
The dry climate and stony conditions of the island suit the Neems perfectly and it makes a wonderful shade tree in just a few years. Even hurricanes have little effect on the Neems if any part of the root system is left in the ground.
Neem has well known insecticidal properties and the leaves and seeds can be made into disinfectants and biologically acceptable anti pest- preparations. The leaves, seeds, bark and twigs of the plant also have medicinal properties and can be used in the preparation of soap, shampoo, toothpaste, ointments and herbal medicines.


Chinaberry leaf
Chinaberry leaf
Pigeonberry, ChinaberryBourreria succulenta
A volunteer in many gardens and throughout the wild bush of Anguilla, the Pigeonberry is a hard wood tree that is susceptible to many island pest such as the white fly. The tree produces a small white flower and then red berries that are a favorite of local birds.
Used by locals as a remedy for thrush and oral inflammations.


Wild Moses
Wild Moses
Wild Moses, tantan, wild tamarindLeucaena leucocephala
Not highly regarded on Anguilla, the Wild Moses will grow anywhere with no water or care. The tree usually grows a straight trunk with loosely arranged leaves that offer no shade but tend to overtake anything around it. As soon as it is able the tree produces a large quantity of brown pods containing numerous seeds. A survivor, this tree can be cut back to the ground with a split trunk and still come back again.
Used to make charcoal and fish traps. It is a major invader of disturbed habitats. In some areas the pods are cooked and eaten and the seed roasted and used as a coffee. This plant is poisonous to some animals.


Lantana leaf and blossom
Lantana leaf and blossom
Lantana, Wild SageInvolucrate
More of a low level bush than a tree the Lantana can withstand the rugged conditions on Anguilla and thrive with a minimum of water. The bush often springs up as a volunteer plant in the garden and is welcome because of its pleasant grouping of tiny flowers. Properly pruned and occasionally watered this local bush can become quite an addition to the local garden.
The leaves are used to make bush-tea and an aromatic bush bath. In some areas it is used in a tonic for colic and applied externally for insect stings and snake bites.

Mahogany Trees
Mahogany Trees
MahoganySwietinia Mahogani
The Mahogany tree of Anguilla is shorter and without the straight trunk of a variety grown in South America. The dry windy conditions on the island force the Mahogany to bend to the whim of the wind and remain a height of about 20 ft. They are however a wonderful shade tree and greatly prized on the island. An entire road in the capital The Valley is lined with old Mahogany trees and a street corner in the town is dedicated with a bronze plaque to a single tree that finally succumbed at a very old age.
The Anguilla Mahogany wood is a reddish blond color and sometimes used by local artists to create wood carvings.The tree produces a hard brown pod that splits into five parts releasing long flat winged seeds.


Wild Grape leaf and berries
Wild Grape leaf and berries
Wild GrapeCoccoloba krugii
This bush is related and similar in appearance to the sea grape tree with smaller leaves and berries. A vine-like bush it grows throughout Anguilla in the wild and local gardens. If left to its own devices this bush will get quite straggly because of drought conditions but proper pruning will keep it full and attractive.


White Cedar Tree
White Cedar Tree
White Cedar, pink cedar
Tabebuia heterophylla
The national flower of Anguilla grows in abundance on the island. Normally a much taller tree, on Anguilla its size is usually limited to about 20 feet max. The tree grows straight in areas where there is a wind block. If watered it will bloom quite often and the dark green leaves and branches will become quite thick. Used in boat construction. Leaves are used to make medicinal tea to treat a variety of illnesses including toothaches, backaches, gonorrhea, and fish poisoning.

Turpentine Tree
Turpentine Tree
Turpentine tree (gumbo-limbo, tourist tree)
Bursera simaruba
An unusual tree the Turpentine has a dark red trunk that appears to be constantly shedding. It grows in unusual shapes with a bloated trunk. Often it will shed all its leaves in times of drought. In old days children would cut a limb of the tree to carve tops for toys. The berries are sought by fruit eating birds. The bark has a grayish resin which tastes like turpentine. The bark, gum, and leaves are much esteemed as home remedies. The resinous gum has been used as incense, adhesives for mending broken dishes, as a protective covering on canoes, and to repel insects and worms. A fine example lives in front of Savannah Gallery in lower Valley.

Buttonwood
Buttonwood
ButtonwoodConocarpus erectus
The Buttonwood, a mangrove is found all over the sea rocks and around the salt ponds on Anguilla. Because of the limited supply of water and soil this tree grows in unusual shapes and spreads across the ground rather that growing tall. The wood is very heavy and the stumps are sometimes used by local artists for wood carvings. This heavy wood makes high-grade charcoal. The bark is used for tanning leather and medicinally for treating fish poisoning and diarrhea.

Mancheneel leaves and pod
Mancheneel leaves and pod
ManchineelHippomane manicella
Living around salt ponds and costal areas the Manchineel, adapts to conditions by either growing tall or spreading its branches close to the ground. This plant is the most poisonous plant on Anguilla. The caustic sap is irritating to the mouth, eyes and skin. The Caribs poisoned their arrows with this toxic liquid.

Goatfoot, Beach Morning-GloryIpomoea pes-caprae
This coastal vine protects sand dunes. The shape of the leaf resembles the footprint of a goat and the flowers, which are open in the morning, are bell shaped. It is often found growing with the beach pea, but is dominant closer to the water. Occasionally the vine will find its way into local gardens and can become quite a nuisance as it will quickly overtake low bushes and trees. It is sometimes used in medicinal baths.

Gray KnickersCaesalpinia bonduc
Found along coastal areas all around Anguilla in the wild. An invasive plant with many hooked spines this bush can overcome paths in a short period of time.
The seeds are roasted, ground, and boiled. They can then be used as a diuretic, for diabetes, for hypertension, and were formerly used as quinine in treating malaria. The seeds are also used in a traditional African game "Wari", widely played in the West Indies.

Beach Pea, Bay BeanCanavalia rosea
This creeping vine helps prevent beach erosion. It has pink/purple flowers, thick, long seedpods, and alternate leaves composed of three leaflets. The leaflets lie open and flat in the morning but fold along the midrib as the sun rises.

Maidenberry Tree
Maidenberry Tree
MaidenberryCrossopetalum rhacoma Crantz
Small hardwood tree growing all over the island. Welcome volunteer in the garden as it attracts birds with its red berries. The berries were eaten by local children in days gone by on Anguilla.

Cobry
Cobry
Cobry
Softwood tree growing all over Anguilla. Not popular in gardens as it tends to overtake slower growing plants. Long ragged leaves and tiny white flowers with yellow centers that produce red berries popular with birds. The berries were used for oral problems in children.

Christmas Palm
Christmas Palm
Christmas Palm Veitchia merrillii
A newcomer to Anguilla this social palm is easy and quick to grow. Does not require any special care and produces a batch of bright colored red berries around Christmas time. The seeds are a favorite of Anguilla chickens.

Seaside Mahoe
Seaside Mahoe
Seaside MahoeThespesia populnea
This easy to grow tree is becoming increasingly popular in Anguilla for its ability to withstand high wind and salt blast. It will grow in shallow rocky soil with little care but does like occasional watering. Very fast grower and produces hibiscus-like yellow flowers most of the year. This tree will grow as high as the wind allows up to 40 ft. Most trees in Anguilla don't grow higher than 20 ft.
NOTE
May be confused with another naturalized exotic, sea hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus L.), but its leaves wider, with dense star-shaped hairs on lower surfaces.

Flamboyant Tree
Flamboyant Tree
FlamboyantDelonix regia
Becoming more popular as a garden tree in Anguilla, the Flamboyant once had the reputation of causing family problems and for that reason was kept out of the local garden. Now the flamboyant is everywhere and grows at an incrediable rate considering the drought conditions that often occur on this island. They occasionally go through a dormant period with the beautiful splash of red, orange or golden flowers appearing before the green foliage. The tree produces a long dark brown pod with a string of long seeds. Easy to grow.


Tamarind pods and leaves
Tamarind pods and leaves
TamarindLeguminosae (Fabaceae) The Tamarind is the tallest growing tree on the Anguilla. A native of tropical Africa it grow wild throughout the island. Although slow growing, they live a long time and begin to produce pods early in life. The pods contain a acidulous pulp that is often used to make drink or a chewy candy. See fine examples of the Tamarind tree along the main road in The Valley.

Mango fruit and leaves
Mango fruit and leaves
Mango Tree The mango in Anguilla produces a rather small stringy fruit with a delightful flavor but difficult to eat. The Mango tree can grow quite large planted in bottom land. The best examples are located in the eastern end of the island at Canafist Junction.

Pomserrate fruit and leaves
Pomserrate fruit and leaves
Pomserret This prickley fruit tree grows wild all over Anguilla. Able to withstand drought and wind this tree will often shape to the will of the wind. It produces a small pinkish brown fruit with a large seed that tastes like an apple. It is a favorite of children.

The Pitchapple produces a pod shaped like an apple.
The Pitchapple produces a pod shaped like an apple.
Pitchapple Tree This tree produces a sap that was onced used by Anguillian boat builders to waterproof their ships.

Loblolly leaves
Loblolly leaves
  Loblolly seed pods
Loblolly seed pods
   
 
 
Neems leaf and blossom
Neems leaf and blossom
  Wild Moses
Wild Moses
  White Cedar leaves
White Cedar leaves
 




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