Spider Hibiscus (Fijian: Senitoa)

Spider Hibiscus (Fijian: Senitoa)Hibiscus schizopetalus (Malvaceae) Characteristics Shrub, growing up to 3 m. Flowers red or pink, very distinctive in their frilly, finely divided petals. Leaves resemble those of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (#55 plant tour). Distribution Native to tropical eastern Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Mosambique). Today, widespread as ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical gardens and parks.…

Lemongrass (Fijian: Yagiyagi, Coboi)

Lemongrass (Fijian: Yagiyagi, Coboi)Cymbopogon cf. coloratus (Poaceae) Characteristics Cymbopogon are evergreen, clump-forming, perennial grasses, 60-140 cm tall. Rich in essential oils, used for citronella oil, insect repellent and in the culinary arts (depending on the species). Distribution Genus Cymbopogon native to Asia, Africa and Australia. Natural Medical Properties No known. Did you know? The most…

Polynesian ‘ohe (Fijian: Bitu)

Polynesian ‘ohe (Fijian: Bitu)Schizostachyum glaucifolium (Poaceae) Characteristics Evergreen bamboo species, up to 15 m tall. Culm diameter 8 cm. Clump-forming. Yellow woody culms with green stripes. Used by Polynesians to produce baskets, mats, musical instruments, fishing rods etc. Distribution Native to South-Central Pacific (like Fiji). Today, cultivated in the United States of America. Natural Medical…

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…