19 Sep 2012Blog

Tropical flowers in Barbados

by Monique

Out of 700 species of indigenous plants on Barbados, the only 2 which are unique to the island are the Phyllanthus andersonii and Metastelma barbadense. These 2 unique ‘Bajan’ species are vine types of plant that only bear small white flowers.

For you botanists out there, thought you might be interested to know which tropical flowers are present in Barbados. None are indigenous to the island, rather most species found their way here either by accident in cargo or clothing via ships coming along from East of the Atlantic. I imagine some were also introduced purposely to Barbados, maybe because of their medicinal value, colourful disposition or value in trade? Do you know why? Let us know in our comments section below!

Hibiscus (Photo credit: Nic Cozier)Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

Appear as bright, colourful flowers and usually only blooms for one day if removed from the stem or three days if left on the bush. In Barbados, you generally see bright red, orange and pink hibiscus, although this flower can bloom in various hues.

Blue Pumbago - (Photo Credit: Joe Ross)Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata)

A lover of the sun that flowers year round, especially in the tropics, the Blue Plumbago grows actively and can reach as high as 10 feet!

Frangipani - (Photo Credit: Vicki Cozier)Frangipani (Plumeria)

One of my favourite flowers that are the most fragrant at night but the sap can irritate the eyes. In the Pacific islands, Frangipani are used to make leis and worn to signify a woman’s relationship status! ;p

Desert Rose - (Photo Credit: Joe Ross)Desert Rose (Adenium obesum)

A contender with my first love (the frangipani), Desert Rose are pretty in pink and can grow for many years in a pot. Don’t let its demure fool you, the sap of a Desert Rose is poisonous and should never come into contact with children or pets. Be sure to wash your hands promptly after handling this plant.

Red Ginger Lillies (Photo Credit: Joe Ross)Ginger Lilly (Alpinia pupurator)

A lover of water and hot conditions, the Ginger Lily can grow as tall as twelve feet and often used in flower arrangements as large decorational flowers.

Bajan Ball Bush (Photo Credit: Vicki Cozier)Bush ball

Often seen on the side of roadways, Bush Ball Wild is a weed that grows in abundance and is often used in flower arranging when they dry out and turn brown.

Anthurium - (Photo Credit: Joe Ross)Anthurium (Anthurium inflorescence)

This fast evolving flower is 1 of 1000 species of Anthurium. At least one new variety of this species is found every year!

Golden Shower (Photo Credit: Vicki Cozier)Golden Shower – (Cassia fistula)

This is a National flower of Thailand and symbolizes Thai Royalty! When this tree sheds its leaves, then the blooming will begin.

Pride of Barbados (Photo credit: Nicola Barnard)Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)

Red Bird of Paradise is the national flower of Barbados, and is shown on the Queen’s personal Barbadian flag.

Bouganvillea (Photo credit: Andrew Belding)Bouganvillea

Bougainvillea’s usually bloom after going through a dry season and a period of shorter days. They like at least full sun for approximately 6 hours a day.

Cabbage palm tree - (Photo credit: Nicola Barnard)Cabbage Palm Tree (Sabal palmetto)

These are popular landscaping palms in Barbados as they tolerate salt air well, and are normally hurricane resistant. Cabbage Palms can grow up to 20 meters high and bear yellowish-white flowers.

Purple Petrea (Photo Credit: Vicki Cozier)Sandpaper Vine (Purple Petrea)

If you have a “brown thumb” this is one of the easiest plants to grow! Sandpaper Vine is also known as Queens Wreath and can grow up to 50 metres high! Beware of its fuzzy leaves which can scratch your skin and cause some itchiness.

Pink Lilly - (Photo Credit: Vicki Cozier)Pink Water Lilly (Nymphaea odorata)

This is 1 of 40 varieties of Water Lilly. This species generally bloom during the day and flowers come in stunning colours of red, pink, white, yellow, green, purple and blue.
Source: Official names taken from Wikipedia
Photo credits: Nicola Barnard, Vicki Cozier, Nic Cozier, Joe Ross and Andrew Belding