Orchid trees

Orchid trees Bauhinia sp. (Fabaceae) Characteristics Trees of this genus typically reach 6-12 m. Flowers with five petals, fragrant. Begin of flowering in late winter and often continues into early summer. Very easy to recognize leaves with two lobes, looking like a butterfly. Distribution Mainly planted in SE-Asia and India, but common around the tropics…

Eggplant

Eggplant Solanum melongena (Solanaceae) Characteristics Delicate, tropical, perennial plant, often cultivated as a half-hardy annual plant in temperate climates. Stem spiny. Flowers white to purple, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. Fruit edible but low in nutrients, but the capability of the fruit to absorb oils and flavours into its flesh through cooking expands…

Royal Palm

‎Royal PalmRoystonea regia (Arecaceae) Characteristics Palm tree, up to 20-25 m tall. Trunk stout, very smooth and grey-white with a characteristic bulge below a distinctive green crownshaft. Root nodules containing Rhizobium bacteria have been found on Roystonea regia trees in India, normally known from Fabaceae-species. This was the first (!) record of root nodules in…

Small-leaved fig (Fijian: Baka ni viti)

Small-leaved fig (Fijian: Baka ni viti)Ficus obliqua (Moraceae) Characteristics Tree, can grow up to 60 m (!), buttressed trunk, glossy green leaves. Fruit is a “syconium”, meaning that the fruit is an inverted inflorescence with the flowers lining an internal cavity. Pollinated by two species of fig wasps (Pleistodontes greenwoodi, P. xanthocephallus). Many bird species…

Madagascar periwinkle

Madagascar periwinkleCatharanthus roseus (Apocynaceae) Characteristics Evergreen shrub or herbaceous plant up to 1 m tall. Leaves oval, 3-9 cm long and 1-3 cm broad, glossy green, hairless, opposite. Flowers white to dark-pink with a darker red center and a basal tube. Corolla 2-5 cm with 5 petal-like lobes. Distribution Native and endemic to Madagascar but…

Sea Almond (Fijian: Tavola)

Sea Almond (Fijian: Tavola)Terminalia catappa (Combretaceae) Characteristics Large deciduous tree, up to 35 m tall, with horizontal branches. Large, glossy dark green, leathery leaves (15-25 cm long, 10-15 cm broad). Corky light fruits (drupe), dispersed by water. Seed within the fruit is edible when fully ripe, tasting almost like almond (name: Sea almond). The trees…

Papaya

PapayaCarica papaya (Caricaceae) Characteristics Trees or shrubs 6-10 m tall. Stem (20 cm diameter) with leaf scars helically arranged, bark green to brown. Leaf blade 20-60 cm. Berries hanging from trunk near summit, green to orange. Edible. Distribution Papayas are grown throughout the tropics of the world, chiefly at low elevations, and tend to become…

Common Mango

Common MangoMangifera indica (Anacardiaceae) Characteristics Trees, 10-40 m tall. Leaves 10-30 cm long, 2-7cm wide, leathery, margin entire. Juicy, large and edible stone fruits (drupes). Depending on the cultivar, mango fruits vary in size, shape, sweetness, skin color and flesh color which may be pale yellow, gold or orange Distribution Although “Common Mango” is a…

Kava (Kava Kava)

Kava (Fijian: Yaqona)Piper methysticum (Piperaceae)   Characteristics A clumping shrub with growth up to 2.5 meters tall, Kava thrives In loose well drained soils where plenty of air reaches the roots, needing high rainfall and humidity, It Is an understory plant, sensitive to sunlight and not salt tolerant. It cannot reproduce sexually with female flowers…