The National Flower
The Soufriere Tree
Soufriere Tree- Spachea Perforata, is a member of a fairly well
represented family of in tropical floras, namely MALPIGHIACEAE. Other
well known members are the common Barbados Cherry- malpighia
puniciflolia, and an attractive forest tree, the Shoemaker's Bark or
Bois-tan- Byrsomina spicata, whose abundant yellow flowers and
dark green foliage render it quite conspicuous when in bloom. The family
is otherwise represented as trees, shrubs and vines.
Soufriere tree was reported to have been collected on the slopes of the
volcano in 1804, i.e. before the 1812 eruption, by Dr. Alexander
Anderson the then Medical Officer and Curator of the Gradens. An old
specimen of the tree is still to be found in the Gardens along with a
much younger tree about ten years old. The tree airlayers quite readily
and will root from cutting also. But both trees at the Gardens have
never frinted or set seed even though they flower profusely and the
flowers are bisexual.
Soufriere tree is an untidy brancher with simple, lanceolate leaves
about two inches to four inches long by one inch wide. The individual
flower is small but they are borne in profuse pendent racemes about two
inches to three inches long which are of quite an attractive pale pink
outstanding feature of the Soufriere tree is that it is a purely endemic
species known from Saint Vincent only and it has not been found in the
wild since. Specimens were sent to few Gardens and a plant has been
established in the Trinidad Botanic Gradens. most plants in the Lesser
Antilles are widely distributed, endemic species being relatively few,
unlike in the Greater Antilles where they are far commoner.
The National Bird*:
National Bird of St. Vincent is the St. Vincent Parrot (Amazona
is the only type of parrot on the island and is a large beautifully
coloured bird about 16-18 inches in length. The head is white, yellow
and violet. The neck is mostly green, the body plumage is predominantly
gold and brown washed with green. The wings are variegated and the tail
green and violet blue, broadly tipped with yellow.
young in juvenile plumage is the same as the matured bird. There is
however a tremendous range of colour which could be categorized into
three colour morphs, green, bronze and blue, the latter two being less
* Source: OAS Office
St. Vincent & The Grenadines.
14 May 2008