Virgin Islands Native Plants

Century plant (Agave missionum)
Photo by Dan Clark
Century plant (Agave missionum)
The Century plant is a large succulent shrub with prickly edged leaves. It produces a tall main stem with branches and many cluster of flowers. In early spring to summer, large bright yellow flowers bloom.
Photo by David Horner

Prickly pear (Optuntia dillenii)

One of the more common Optuntia species in the dry coastal scrublands of St. John. The red pear-shaped fruit and the pads are edible. It produces 2-3 inch yellow flowers.
Mammillaria nivosa
Photo by Dan Clark

Woolly Nipple Cactus (Mammillaria nivosa)

This colorful cactus is found on the rocky outcroppings of the north shore. It blooms in the spring and has a club-shaped dark red fruit.
Melocactus intortus Turks cap
Photo by Dan Clark
Turk's Cap (Melocactus intortus)
Found throughout the Caribbean, this barrel-shaped cactus grows in the coastal limestone areas and cliff formations of the island. They produce bright pink tubular-shaped flowers, which are edible

Turk's Cap Melocactus intortus
Photo by David Horner
Liana fragante Distictis lactiflora
Photo by Dan Clark

Liana fragante (Distictis lactiflora)

This woody vine climbs using tendrils with adhesive discs, and produces fragrant flowers almost year-round.
Croton astroites 300x299
Photo by Dan Clark

Wild marang (Croton astroites)

A tall shrub found in the coastal scrublands and disturbed areas.

Catch and Keep (Acacia retusa)
Photo by Dan Clark

Catch and Keep (Acacia retusa)

This common weed forms dense thickets of vine-like vegetation. It is found throughout the island. Covered in hundreds of hooked spines, catch and keep is aptly named for its ability to hook into and hold onto anything.
Acacia tortuosa with seed
Photo by Dan Clark

Casha (Acacia tortuosa)

The Casha is a large deciduous shrub with bright yellow flowers found in coastal scrublands. It has long sharp thorns and produces round golden flowers.

Acacia tortuosa flower
Christmas bush (Comocladia dodonaea)
Photo by Dan Clark
Christmas Bush (Comocladia dodonaea)
Another common name for this bush is poison ash. The sap on the leaves causes a rash similar to poison ivy. The bush is native to the Caribbean and found throughout St. John.
Antherium cordatum
Photo by Dan Clark
Hand Leaf (Anthurium cordatum)

The hand leaf is a long-stemmed plant with huge leaves. It produces whitish flowers and fleshy bright red, white or lavender berries. It is found in the understories of moist forests.

Byrsonima lucida
Photo by Dan Clark

Locustberry (Byrsonima lucida)

The locustberry is a low evergreen shrub and has flowers that turn from white to pink to crimson, making it a showy plant. It has irregular branches and can grow 8-10 feet in good soil. The flowers attract butterflies.

Eugenia earhartii

Eugenia earhartii

This rare shrub exists in only two locations, both on St. John. Eugenia branches from the base of the plant and produces delicate white flowers with pink centers. This plant is currently protected within Virgin Islands National Park.
Dog Caper (Capparis flexuosa)
Photo by Dan Clark
Dog caper (Capparis flexuosa)
The Dog caper has yellow to white flowers and flowers at night or early morning. It is found throughout the Virgin Islands West Indies, Florida to South America.

Wattapama (Poitea florida)

This small tree is native only to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Island. There blooms are a glorious lavender purple blooming after strong spring rains.
Night blooming cereus in full bloom

Night blooming cereus (Selenicereus grandiflorus)

The Night-Blooming Cereus cactus has large, beautiful white flowers that open for one night only. Bats and moths have the important job of pollinating these magnificent flowers.

Check out our plants to avoid before heading out into the woods for a hike.

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1300 Cruz Bay Creek
St. John, VI 00830


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