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NATIONAL SYMBOLS

    

Coat of Arms

 

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The Flag

 

 

The National Flower

The Soufriere Tree
(Spachea perforata)

The National Flower*:
                                      
The 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.

The 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.

The 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 hue.

The 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*:
                       
The National Bird of St. Vincent is the St. Vincent Parrot (Amazona Guildingii).

It 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.

The 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 common.


* Source: OAS Office St. Vincent & The Grenadines.

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Updated: 14 May 2008