Trees & Vines of the Caribbean
many Caribbean trees grow constantly, their timber
is not marked with clearly defined growth rings, resulting
in a fine grain wood highly prized for furniture making and construction.
is a classic example of a rain forest wood so sought-after that plantations
of it have been cultivated on West Indian islands; the tree,
however, is not native to the region. Today, it's hard to
find an island that doesn't have mahogany of some sort growing on it.
of the other trees aren't as familiar as mahogany but they
all have their uses.
Names and Uses
Tulip Tree (Spathodea campanulata) Also called flame
of the forest, this fiery red tree's unopened buds squirt
water when pinched. A popular ornamental from Africa.
Tree (Terminalia catappa) Recognized by its spreading horizontal
branches, this tree grows to 30 feet. It has large leathery leaves
that turn red before falling. Its fruit is edible.
Tree (Clusia rosea) A West Indian evergreen whose large
thick leaves were used for playing cards and writing paper
by early Spanish explorers. The wood is used in construction and its leaves,
bark and fruit have medicinal qualities.
(Manilkara bidentata) The fruit is edible, the latex is used
(Ochroma pyramidale) The seed floss is used for stuffing pillows.
Tree (Ficus benghalensis): Named for Hindu traders named Banyan,
these huge evergreens have aerial roots that help support
Rum (Amomis caryophyllata): The leaves are used for
Mangrove (Avicennia nitida): The heartwood contains lapachol.
Sage(Cordia cylindrostachya): The leaves are steeped to treat coughs
Bande (both Parinari campestris and Roupala montana): The
tree bark has aphrodisiac qualities. Known in Grenada as "man's
To Caribbean Trees & Vines Part 2
Calabash - Jumbie Bead
To Caribbean Trees & Vines Part 3
Vitae - Yellow Poui
To Caribbean Fruits & Vegetables
Bush Medicine 102
Return to Caribbean Flora &