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Caribbean (West Indian) Flowers
Caribbean Flowers For Your Wedding, Garden Or Spring Bouquet
Caribbbean flowers can brighten a Caribbean gift basket, make a stunning bride's bouquet or centerpiece, turn your garden into a lush paradise or at just be at home in the West Indies. This guide to flora of the Caribbean informs you about tropical plants or flowers as gifts and also serves as a source of inspiration for décor. Caribbean flowers bring back memories of vacations or holidays. Thoughts of Caribbean flowers give pleasure during long, bleak and cold winters. Tropical blooms add ambiance to warm summer days. I hope the images and information prove to be as enjoyable and informative for you to view as they were for me to compile.
Books on Caribbean Flowers
For more detailed content on the flowers of the Caribbean, you may wish to pick up a book. Here are some volumes that reference specific West Indian Islands (Jamaica, Cuba, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos) as well as the Caribbean region in general
Carib Wood or "bwa kwaib" (think of the French "Bois Carib" - translated to Caribbean Wood) is the national flower of Dominica. This plant is both hardy and indigenous to Dominica, as well as being at its most stunning generally during the month of April. The scientific name of this tree-like shrub (reaching a height of between 10 and 15 feet) is sabinea carinalis or also poitea carinalis. A nice photo gallery of Bwa Kwaib can be found at the site of the Dominica Botanic Gardens. The Heliconia was an earlier choice for Dominica's national flower, as was the Petria, but the unique and native Bwa Kwaib won out in the end (1978) due to its poetic representation of the Dominican people, equally unique and native. The Bwa Kwaib flowers only live a few days between February and April (although sometimes lasting through June) making this national flower even more elusive.
Bwa Kwaib only grows in the wild on the Island of Dominica, although it is also being grown in Guyana. Similar plants occur in the wild on the Virgin Islands and in Puerto Rico.
Find more information on Bois Caribe, Carib Wood or "Bwa Kwaib":
The Century Plant
Its flower staff is the "Dagger's Log"
The national flower of the islands of Antigua & Barbuda is the "Dagger's Log" or flowering staff of the Agave plant. A member of the lily family, The agave plant only flowers once in its lifetime (after about 10 or 20 years) at the top of a pole or "log" that emerges from the center of the plant. After flowering, the plant dies. Outside of Antigua & Barbuda, the agave is also known as the "Century Plant". Known by the Arawaks as "Maguey" or "Kabuya", the leaf fiber of this plant was used to make hammock strings, rope, cords and handicrafts. Dead "logs" are pieced together to make fishing rafts. Medicinally, the plant was used for curing tuberculosis. Another handy and practical use of the agave plant on Antigua & Barbuda is to plant several together forming a sturdy fence for keeping out intruders. The Antigua Barbuda Horticultural Society provides a beautiful summary of the Dagger's Log or Agave at its site. This site is a useful reference for other flora and fauna of these islands - don't miss it!]
Purchase Agave Plants: Check out Tyty's Nursery to purchase agave plants online. Agave's are slow to grow, so the larger plants are highly prized and more expensive.
The grand fete is a celebration of pomp and pageantry. Floral societies practice months before the fete with nightly singing rehearsals called "seances" that follow a specific protocal.
Seances are led by a lead singer ("shantwel"), usually a woman. The shantwel leads the other society members in a chorus with violins, banjos, quatros, guitars, shak-shaks, bahas, and drums. Variety and spontaneity occur at "seances": this doesn't happen at the more disciplined grand fete. At a séance, you might see dances like the mapa and the gwan won. Grande fÃªte dancing is traditional and limited to quadrilles, belairs, mazurkas and other figure dancing.
The King and Queen preside over the grand fete, accompanied by their royal court and supporters of the respective flowers. The day begins with church services. These are followed by street processions. The celebrating society's personalities are invited to a feast in the evening. Dancing takes up the rest of the night .
Wild Banana Orchid
The Cayman Islands have 26 species of orchids, of which the most famous is their national flower, the Wild Banana Orchid. This species is endemic to the Cayman Islands, meaning it can only be found there. These orchids grow on another plant: usually Whitewood, Mahoganey or Logwood trees. Humidity and heavy rains cause these plants to flower profusely. The plant is named for the long and curved spike which is topped by the orchid flower and clustered at the bottom with 'pseudobulbs' resembling bananas.
It is part of Caymanian folklore that natives used to use the hollow pseudobulbs of the Wild Banana Orchid as temporary smoking pipe bowls. Although not considered endangered, the Wild Banana Orchid's host trees (and thus their habitat) are dwindling. There are also concerns about the hybridization of this orchid species.
It is illegal to kill or take an orchid from the Cayman Islands.
Sources Cited - National Flowers - A listing of the websites used to compile national flower information for this lens.
- The Flower Expert - Online Flowers Encyclopedia
The Puerto Rican state flower is the Puerto Rican Hibiscus (Thespesia Grandiflora, Maga Grandiflora, Montezuma, Flor de Maga).
- The Flower Expert - List of National Flowers by Country
Extensive listing of the world's countries and their respective national flowers, along with interesting facts about each flower.
- Dominica - Art, Articles, Culture, History & Resources
Information on all of the various national symbols of Dominica.
- Martinique Travel Guide
Overview, facts, weather and headlines for Martinique.
- Visit St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Information on the national symbology of St. Vincent's and the Grenadines.
- St. Lucia National Flowers
Background on St. Lucia's two national flowers and their respective societies - the rose and the marguerites.
Official facts on the island of Montserrat.
- Bougainvillea Flower: National Flower of Grenada
Information on the official national flower of Grenada, the Bougainvillea.
- Flor Maga - Puerto Rico's National Flower
Information on the beautiful, saucer-sized Flor de Maga of Puerto Rico (closely related to Hibiscus, but even bigger).
Order Caribbean Flowers
Are you wanting to purchase or create your own Caribbean floral arrangement? Now you know a little more about the typical flowers: hibiscus, birds of paradise, ginger flowers, bromeliads and orchids. Caribbean floral arrangements generally have a lot of height, making them ideal for centerpieces. I've spent time online curating photos of impressive floral arrangements and bouquets featuring West Indian plants, as well as locating Caribbean-inspired bouquets that are available for online ordering. Choose your florist online at Centsible and view sample designs as well as shipping policies, featured deals and couon or promo codes.
Have a look at the selections I've found from local florists located in the Caribbean Islands and online florists
Although the protea flowers are more of an African flower than a Caribbean one, they contribute nicely to these arrangements. The Birds of Paradise and Cymbidium Orchids are typically Caribbean. The seashells and wicker accents complete the look nicely.
When ordering these plants, please ensure that you live in an appropriate area for them to thrive.
However, some plants like orchids, heliconias, barrel cacti, hibiscus and others can thrive indoors in containers.
Help With Growing Your Own Caribbean Flowers - Reference books for including tropical plants in your garden.
Botanical Gardens and National Parks of the Caribbean
Visit these websites for information on botanical gardens and parks throughout the Caribbean islands.
- Montoso Gardens - Puerto Rico
Montoso Gardens is a 90-acre botanical garden, flower & fruit farm and nursery in Puerto Rico on the south slope of Pico Montoso mountain.
- Cranbrook Flower Forest and River Head Adventure Trail - Jamaica
Cranbrook is an eco-tourism attraction on Jamaica's north coast in the parish of St. Ann between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Opened in May 1997, it features exotic tropical gardens, lawns, water pools and a tropical rain forest.
- Jamaica - Gardens By Nature & Design
Stories & photos by Pamela A. Campbell about her visit to Jamaica's Castleton & Hope Botanical Gardens.
- Government of Jamaica - Ministry of Agriculture
History and facts on Jamaica's numerous public gardens: Bath Botanical Gardens, Castleton Gardens, Cinchona Gardens, Hope (Royal) Botanical Garden, Holland Bamboo Grove and Fern Gully.
- Jamaica National Heritage Trust
A listing of historic buildings, monuments and trusts throughout Jamaica.
- Andromeda Gardens - Barbados
The official site of this 6-acre tropical botanical garden in the parish of St. Joseph, Barbados.
Sites on Flowers and Plants of the Caribbean - Guides to the plants and flowers of the Caribbean
- Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Center
A listing of plants commonly found in the Bahamas. Put together and maintained by Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Center in Nassau, Bahamas.
- Turks & Caicos Islands - Department of Environment and Coastal Resources
An informative guide to the plants and flowers of the Turks and Caicos Islands, featuring photos of the plants as well as information about them.
- Anguilla Guide
A listing with photos of the plant life to be found on the island of Anguilla.
- Andromeda Gardens - Barbados
The official site of this 6-acre tropical botanical garden in the parish of St. Joseph, Barbados
- Chelsea Flower Show - 2008
Photographs and descriptions of the 2008 Chelsea Flower Show entries from the following nations: Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Barbados and Jamaica.
- Floridata - Lantana Camara
Quick description and history of the Lantana shrub, as well as growing considerations and propagation techniques.
The sense of smell is tied to strongly to memories. The bright colors of Caribbean flowers are also highly impressionable. Let us know which flower transports you back to the islands the quickest.
Which flower is most definitive of the West Indies
Purchase Anthurium Plants Online at Amazon - A hardy indoor plant.
Anthuriums are hardy indoor plants and are quite easy to propagate through cuttings.
Many species of Anthurium can be grown indoors as houseplants, or outdoors shaded areas with mild climate. They thrive in moist soil (not dry, not wet) with lots of organic material. The potting material should be coarse and well-drained, mixed on a 1:1:1 ration of peat moss: pine bark: perlite. Indoors plants do best at temperatures between 60-72 degrees F / 16-22 degrees C with lower light than other house plants. Regularly wipe the leaves with water to remove dust. Give your anthurium a weak fertilizer solution (dilute to 1/4 strength) every other week. In the case of vining or climbing Anthuriums, the plants be sure to provide them with a totem to climb.
If you've enjoyed this collection of Caribbean Flowers, please sign my guestbook.
Contact Laura Schofield
*If you would like to suggest any links or have your own photos and / or stories published, please send me an email. I can be contacted through my personal homepage, laura-schofield.com. If you enjoy the work I've done here, I do offer professional copy writing, photo restoration / manipulation, search engine optimization and web design services. I can again be contacted for any of these services through my website.
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