Trees are vital for the survival of humanity. They provide us with oxygen and take in Carbon dioxide, purify the air, contribute in the water cycle, contribute in climate change, provide us with wood, food, cool down the environment, give shade and shelter, give us medicine, protect wildlife and much more. Many species are used in landscaping while at the same time performing other functions.
At the RVA trees are all around us and we at the school take very special care of them because they are of great benefit to us and all the wildlife that use them.
Araucaria heterophylla (Salisb.) Franco (Norfolk Island pine) Family: Araucaricaceae
About 1440 km east of Sydney, Australia. It is sometimes called a star pine, Polynesian pine, triangle tree or a living Christmas tree, due to its symmetrical shape as a sapling,
It is a slow growing tree, reaching a height of 50–65 m, with straight vertical trunks and symmetrical branches, its branches are almost horizontal or slightly oblique. The young leaves are soft and awl-shaped, 1–1.5 cm long, about 1 mm thick at the base on young trees, and incurved, broader on older trees. The leaves of young plants are needlelike and curve upward to a point, while those of mature trees are scale like and densely overlapping. Bark gray-brown, peeling off in fine scales.
Uses: The Norfolk pine is planted mainly for ornamental reasons, but is also used for timber and live Christmas trees.
Norfolk Island pine (or Norfolk pine) is endemic to Norfolk Island, a small island in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and New Caledonia,
Mangifera indica Linnaeus (Mango) Family: Anacardiaceae
Mango is native to southern Asia, especially eastern India, Burma, and the Andaman Islands. It is a large evergreen tree 20 m tall with a dark green, umbrella-shaped crown. The trunk is stout, 90 cm in diameter; bark brown, thick, rough and scaly or furrowed.
The large leaves are leathery, 12 to 30 cm in length, and can remain on the tree for a year or more.
Flowers are produced in terminal clusters 10 to 40 cm long. Each flower is small with white petals and a mild sweet aroma.
Over 500 varieties of mangoes are known, many of which ripen in summer, some giving a double crop. The ripe fruit varies in size, shape, color, sweetness, and eating quality. They may be somewhat round, oval, or kidney-shaped, ranging from 5–25 centimetres in length and from 140 grams to 2 kilograms in weight per individual fruit. The skin is leather-like, waxy, smooth, and fragrant, with color ranging from green to yellow, yellow-orange, yellow-red, or with various shades of red, purple, pink or yellow when fully ripe.
Uses: The bark contains mangiferine and is astringent and is used against rheumatism and diphtheria in India. The resinous gum from the trunk is applied on cracks in the skin of the feet and on scabies, and is believed helpful in cases of syphilis. In some of the islands of the Caribbean, the leaf decoction is taken as a remedy for diarrhoea, fever, chest complaints, diabetes, hypertension and other ills. The wood can be converted to lumber, and is used for plywood, musical instruments, charcoal and low cost furniture.
Mangoes are widely used in cuisine. Sour, unripe mangoes are used in chutneys, pickles, side dishes, or may be eaten green with salt, and also used to make juices, ice cream, smoothies, fruit bars, and jelly.
Here when in season mangoes are preferred to other foods so in the past the term ‘pot turn down’ was common referring to the consumption of mangoes that children hardly ate pot food.
Guapira fragrans Aubl (Mapou) Family: Nyctaginaceae
Mapou is an evergreen tree with a single upright trunk and dense rounded crown. This evergreen tree has simple opposite leaves and frequently with insect galls on older leaves. The bark has many rounded, dark, bark lenticels.
Flower clusters are pale green and the elongated fleshy fruit is a little olive-shaped, red turning black.
The sapwood is whitish and soft.
Uses: The Mapou is used mainly in landscaping, for posts; bird food, cart making and the flowers are a source of honey.
Calophyllum antillanum Britton (Galba) Family: Calophyllaceae
Galba is an evergreen tropical tree with straight trunk that can reach over 40 m tall; young stems green, 4-angled, minutely hairy, becoming gray with age.
Uses: It is prized for producing a very hard, durable wood that is used in general construction, flooring, bridge construction, furniture, boat building, cabinetmaking, shingles, interior construction, poles and handles. The fruits are used as hog-feed, and lamp oil is extracted from the seeds. The leaves were once used as a diuretic in Grenada.
The tree is also planted for shade along streets and as a windbreak or to protect against salt spray near the ocean, and reclamation of degraded soil. In the past the inner brown stone of the seed was used as marbles by children.
Genus name means ‘beautiful leaf’.
Psidium guajava L (Guava) Family: Myrtaceae
A small tree to 10 m high, with spreading branches, the guava is easy to recognize because of its smooth, thin, copper-colored bark that flakes off, showing the greenish layer beneath. The leaves, aromatic when crushed, are evergreen, opposite, somewhat irregular in shape. The white slightly fragrant flowers are borne singly or in small clusters in the leaf axils.
The fruit may be round, ovoid, or pear-shaped, 5-10 cm long, and when ripe exudes a strong, sweet, musky odour.
Uses: Dehydrated guavas may be reduced to a powder which can be used to flavor ice cream, confections and fruit juices, or boiled with sugar to make jelly, jam or cheese.
In the past the tough Guava wood was used for making tops.
Guava is a much sought after fruit by children in SVG because of the easy access to the fruits on the tree as the limbs are flexible and not easily broken, and for their nutrition and flavour.
A tea made from Guava leaves can treat a chronic cough and bronchitis. You can also apply the crushed guava leaves to get rid of pain due to insect bites. Guava leaf can help you reduce weight. Tea made from the leaf stops the conversion of carbohydrates from turning into sugar. This, in turn, suppresses the appetite and makes you eat less. You can also use guava leaf tea to reduce the blood sugar level and it does not stimulate the secretion of insulin.
Canaga odorata (Lamarck) Hooker f. & Thomson (Perfume tree, Ylang-ylang) Family: Annonaceae
The Ylang-Ylang is an extremely fast growing evergreen tree that can reach as high as 18 m and 5 m wide. It is flexible and has a year round aroma. Planted outdoors, the tree matures within one to two years, starts blooming, and creates a nice, almost Christmas-Tree-like canopy with drooping branches. The leaves are green when they first appear and becomes yellow with maturity.The yellow-green drooping flowers are highly fragrant appearing almost continuously on the leafy twigs.
Uses: In South East Asia these extremely fragrant flowers are used as offering or to scent a room.
In Java, the dried flowers of C. odorata are used to treat malaria and malaria-like symptoms. It has been also reported that the pounded fresh flowers paste being used to treat asthma. The flowers and bark of the Perfume tree are used to treat pneumonia and stomach ache by the local communities and traditional healers from Northern Mariana Islands. The oil from ylang-ylang is widely used in perfumery for oriental- or floral-themed perfumes (such as Chanel No. 5).
Averrhoa Carambola L (Star fruit, Five fingers) Family: Oxalidaceae
The Carambola tree is slow-growing, short-trunked with a much-branched, bushy, broad, rounded crown and reaches 6 to 9 m ft in height. Its deciduous leaves, spirally arranged, are alternate. The Carambola is believed to have originated in Ceylon and the Moluccas.
The very ripe fruit has a golden yellow colour; half-ripe it’s a lemon green and unripe they are very green, all can be eaten. The fruit is sweet, watery, slightly acid and pleasant to taste. Five Fingers is also referred to as the "Star Fruit". When the fruit is cut across it has a striking star shape, hence the reason for the name.
Uses: The ripe fruits are sometimes dried in Jamaica. Used for cooking in some Asian countries. The unripe fruits of the sweet variety can also be used to make jelly. Locally it is made into a beverage, wine and used in salads.
In India, the ripe fruit is administered to halt haemorrhages and to relieve bleeding haemorrhoids; and the dried fruit or the juice may be taken to counteract fevers. A decoction of combined fruit and leaves is drunk to overcome vomiting. Crushed leaves and shoots are poulticed on the eruptions of chicken-pox, also on ringworm.
Samanea saman (Jacquin) Merrill (Zaman) Family: Fabaceae
S. saman is a medium-sized or large tree often reaching 25-30 m tall, occasionally 45 m, with a short stout bole to 2-3 m diameter and a wide, low, spreading crown, often twice as wide as the tree is high. It is a stately tree, with heavy, nearly horizontal branches and an umbrella-shaped crown.
It's dissemination in the West Indies certainly followed the growth of the cattle industry, as shipments of cattle from Venezuela were often accompanied by bags of Zaman pods for animal feed during the voyage
Uses: A decoction of the inner bark and fresh leaves is used as a treatment for diarrhoea. A brew of small sections of the bark is taken to treat stomach-ache; the seeds are chewed for treating a sore throat.
Locally it is used for lumber, charcoal and firewood.
According to a research conducted at the School of Forestry of the Bogor Agricultural Institute, Indonesia, a mature tree with a crown diameter measuring 15 meters absorbed 28.5 tons of CO2 annually
Ceiba pentandra (Linnaeus) Gaertner (Silk Cotton) Family: Malvaceae
Silk Cotton is a tall, deciduous tree reaching up to 73 m with short, sharp prickles on the trunk and branches with distinct buttresses at the base. The branches, usually 4 to 6 in number, can be up to 2 meters thick, forming a crown of foliage as much as 61 meters in width. The palmate leaves are composed of 5 to 9 leaflets, each up to 20 cm long.
Several hundred 15 cm pods are produced by the tree containing seeds surrounded by a fluffy, yellowish fibre.
It is native to India, Indonesia, and United States of America. The Silk Cotton is an exotic that has become naturalized in SVG.
Uses: The flowers are an important source of nectar and pollen for honey bees and bats. The wood is very light but can be converted into lumber. Reported uses of wood include plywood, packaging, light construction, pulp and paper products, canoes and rafts, farm implements, furniture and matches.
Compressed fresh leaves are used against dizziness; decoction of the boiled roots is used to treat oedema; gum is eaten to relieve stomach upset; and leaf infusion is taken orally against cough and hoarse throat.
Artocarpus altilis Fosb. (Breadfruit) Family: Moraceae
Breadfruit trees grow to a height of 26 m. The large and thick oval, glossy green leaves, three- to nine-lobed toward the apex.
All parts of the tree yield latex, which is useful for boat caulking. Its introduction into the New World was connected with the memorable voyage of Capt. William Bligh in HMS Bounty. In 1792 Bligh, by then a Captain, left Tahiti with over 2,600 breadfruit plants and successfully introduced breadfruit to St Vincent and Jamaica. A tree from one of the original is said to be still growing the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Botanic Gardens in Kingstown.
Breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants, with a single tree producing up to 200 or more fruits per season, requiring limited care.
Uses: It may be roasted, baked, boiled, fried, or dried and ground into flour. In Barbados, breadfruit is boiled with salted meat and mashed with butter to make breadfruit coucou. It is usually eaten with saucy meat dishes. In Jamaica, breadfruit is boiled in soups or roasted on stove top, in the oven or on charcoal. It is usually eaten with the national dish Ackee and salt fish. The ripe fruit is used in salads or fried as a side dish.
The tree was extensively used for timber in the past in construction of houses as persons were able to replace their wattle and daub with houses made from Breadfruit timber.
Spathodea campanulata Palisot de Beauvois (African tulip) Family: Bignoniaceae
African tulip tree is an evergreen or semi-deciduous tree with a dense, bushy, oval crown. It can grow from 10 - 35 metres tall with slightly buttress trunk. The stem tends to become hollow, dropping large branches as the tree ages, shallow rooted.
Leaves are large opposite, simple pinnate compound, 30-40 cm long, about 7 pairs of leaflets.
Flowers are large, brilliant red to scarlet; numerous crowded horn-shaped flower buds on stout greenish stalks.
Uses: African tulip tree is planted as an ornamental, a wayside tree and shade tree. It is used for soil improvement, reforestation, erosion control and land rehabilitation, and as a live fence. The flower buds contain a reddish sap, and are used as water pistols by children.
Extracts of bark, leaves and flowers are used to treat malaria, HIV, diabetes mellitus, oedema, dysentery, constipation, gastrointestinal disorders, ulcers, skin diseases, wounds, fever, urethral inflammation, liver complaints and as a poison antidote.
Cycas revoluta (Sago palm) Family: Cycadaceae
This very symmetrical plant supports a crown of shiny, dark green leaves on a thick shaggy trunk that is typically about 20 cm in diameter, sometimes wider.
The pith contains edible starch, and is used for making sago. Before use, the starch must be carefully washed to leach out toxins contained in the pith. Sago is extracted from the sago cycad by cutting the pith from the stem, root and seeds of the cycads, grinding the pith to a coarse flour and then washing it carefully and repeatedly to leach out the natural toxins. The starchy residue is then dried and cooked, producing a starch similar to palm sago.
Acrocomia aculeata (Jacquin) Loddiges ex Martius (Grugru) Family: Areaceae
The Gru-gru palm is a single-stemmed evergreen palm tree growing 10 - 15 metres tall. The thorny, unbranched stem can be 25 - 45cm in diameter, topped with a crown of leaves that can each be 3 - 5 metres long which are also covered in spines.
A starch can be obtained from the pith of the trunk and from the roots.
The pith of the trunk can be fermented to produce an alcoholic drink. Young leaves - cooked and eaten as a vegetable
In Costa Rica people use the "Coyol Palm" for making "Coyol Wine", especially in the Guanacaste province. This wine is made from the latex that oozes from the trunk, after chopping the palm down.
In St. Vincent the trunk was used to make house posts and also split to make outside kitchens; walking sticks and drums. The fruit was used in craft to make rings and ear rings and the nut is eaten. In the past the green fruits were used as cricket balls.
Syzygium malaccense (L.) Merr. & L.M.Perry, (Plumrose) Family: Myrtaceae
The Plumrose tree is a rather fast-growing evergreen tree reaching 12-18 m in height, and has an erect trunk to 4.5 m in circumference and a pyramidal or cylindrical crown. It's leaves are opposite, dark-green and fairly glossy on the upper surface, paler beneath.
The fruit is oblong-shaped and dark red in color, although some varieties have white or pink skins. The flesh is white and surrounds a large seed.
Uses: The fruits, juicy and sweet, can be eaten raw, cooked or made into wine. The flowers can be candied. Essential oil from the plant is used to make perfume. The bark contains tannin and brown dye.
The wood is medium heavy, strong, and susceptible to termite attacks. It is used for fence posts, plant stakes, furniture, construction, etc. It also makes great fuel and charcoal.
Tamarindus indica L (Tamarind, Tambran) Family: Fabaceae
The tamarind is a slow-growing, long-lived, massive tree that can reach a height of 24-30 m, and may attain a spread of 12 m and a trunk circumference of 7.5 m. It is highly wind-resistant, with strong, supple branches, gracefully drooping at the ends, and has dark-gray, rough, fissured bark.
The fruits, flattish, beanlike, irregularly curved and bulged pods, are borne in great abundance along the new branches and usually of varying sizes up to 18 cm long. When mature the tamarind pod hardens into a brittle shell which houses three or four small seeds surrounded in a tart pulp which is used in a variety of ways.
Uses: The pulp is mixed with sugar to make tamarind balls, a popular confectionery, and can also be mixed with water, and sugar or honey to make a rich drink. In India the tender, immature, very sour pods are cooked as seasoning with rice, fish and meats. The fully ripe, fresh fruit is relished out-of-hand by children and adults, alike.
The pulp is an important ingredient in chutneys, curries and sauces, including some brands of Worcestershire and barbecue sauce, and in a special Indian seafood pickle called "tamarind fish". Native to tropical Africa
Cocos nucifera L (Coconut) Family: Areaceae
Coconut is a single-stemmed, evergreen palm tree that can range in height from 2 metres up to 30 metres tall. The unbranched stem is topped by a rosette of leaves that can each be 4.5 - 6 metres long. It is one of the most useful plants for humans, providing a wide range of foods and other commodities.
The fruit consists of (from the outside to in) a thin hard skin (exocarp), a thicker layer of fibrous mesocarp (husk), the hard endocarp (shell), the white endosperm (kernel), and a large cavity filled with watery liquid (coconut water). The endosperm is soft and jellylike when immature but becomes firm with maturity.
Uses: The seed is a very versatile food, being eaten raw and used in a wide range of cooked dishes. When dry it is shredded and used in dumplings, sugar/coconut cakes and as flavouring in cakes. Oil is also made from the dried nuts that are used in cooking, as skin cream and many other beauty products.
Coconut milk or cream, which is pressed from the mix of freshly grated seed with water, has been a traditional ingredient in many African, Caribbean and especially Asian food and bakery products, and is becoming more widely known.
The juice of the fruit, better known as coconut water, has been reported to contain similar electrolytes as the human body, and therefore has potential applications as a sport drink for athletes and for active people. This has led to a rapid expansion in the demand for the product, even though desiccated coconut still remains the largest form of the product in global trade. All-natural coconut water is now being packaged and sold in various markets as a perishable beverage, although a growing number of processors are finding various ways to extend the shelf life and make the product more shelf stable.
Ravenala madagascariensis Sonn Travellers’ tree Family: Strelitziaceae.
Traveller’s tree is so named because of the water it accumulates in its leaf bases that has been used in emergencies for drinking. The trunk resembles that of a palm tree and attains a height of more than 8 m. At the top of the tree are banana-like leaves, with pale midribs that give a fanlike appearance. The leaves are 4 to 5 m long, and each leaf base, shaped like a huge cup, holds about 1 litre (about a quart) of rainwater.
Uses: The plant produces an edible seed that is sometimes gathered from the wild for local use (Madagascar). Elsewhere it is used as an ornamental in landscaping.
Terminalia catappa Linnaneus (West Indian Almond) Family: Combretaceae
The tree grows to 35 m tall, with an upright, even crown and horizontal branches. Almond has corky, light fruit that are dispersed by water. The seed within the fruit is edible when fully ripe, tasting almost like almond.
The leaves are long, smooth, shiny, and turn red then fall off twice a year.
Uses: The wood is red and solid, and has high water resistance; it has been used in Polynesia for making canoes. In Taiwan, fallen leaves are used as an herb to treat liver diseases. In Suriname, an herbal tea made from the leaves has been prescribed against dysentery and diarrhoea.
In St. Vincent and the Grenadines the wood is used in furniture making and internal construction and the fruit is eaten raw.
Azadirachta indica A. Jussieu (Neem) Family: MELIACEAE
Neem trees can reach 15–30 metres in height and have attractive rounded crowns and thick furrowed bark. Leaves are 30 cm long with 9—15 lance-shaped leaflets paired except at the end; 5 –7.5 cm long to 2cm wide often curved, thin dull green above and paler below.
Uses: It is valued as a medicinal plant, as a source of organic pesticides, and for its timber. Neem is commonly used in shampoos for treating dandruff and in soaps or creams for skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and athlete’s foot. It is also a component in some toothpastes and mouthwashes, especially in the Indian subcontinent.
Neem leaves have long been used as a traditional treatment for diabetes, hypertension and there is some clinical evidence suggesting that it may help control blood sugar levels. Oil extracted from the seeds can be used directly as an insect and mite repellent, insecticide, and fungicide and is the source of many commercial pesticide products, including dusts, granules, and concentrates.
As a fungicide, neem oil is used to control rust, black spot, mildew, scab, anthracnose, and blight. Neem-based pesticides generally have low toxicity for mammals and are common in organic farming applications.
Delonix regia (Hook.) Raf. Flamboyant, Shack-shack Family: FABACEAE
Flamboyant is a fast-growing tree with an umbrella shaped, spreading crown with the long, nearly horizontal branches forming a diameter that is wider than the tree’s height. The tree grows 10 - 18 metres tall, with a large, buttressed bole that can attain a diameter of up to 2 metres
The compound (doubly pinnate) leaves have a feathery appearance and is a characteristic light, bright green.
The flowers of Delonix regia are large, with four spreading scarlet or orange-red petals up to 8 cm long and a fifth upright petal called the standard, which is slightly larger and spotted with yellow and white.
The pods are green and soft when young and turn dark-brown and woody at maturity. They can be up to 60 cm long and 5 cm wide.
Uses: Flamboyant is a useful shade tree in tropical conditions, because it usually grows to a modest height, spreads widely, and its dense foliage provides full shade. In eastern Nigeria the leaves are used traditionally for treating pain.
Locally the seeds are used to make earrings and necklaces and in craft. The dry pods are also used as a musical instrument as the seeds become loose and resonate when shaken, hence the name Shack-shack.
The leaf is used in folk medicine to treat a range of disorders, including constipation, inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, pneumonia, and malaria.