Monday, May 17, 2010

Talking Tiny - The National Flower of Nevis

Here is the fifth installment of articles in memory of Jim Johnson ( who died tragically on Nevis recently. We are re-publishing a series of his articles over the coming weeks. Each one gives a fascinating insight into the man, his love of Nevis and his infinite knowledge of natural life on this beautiful Caribbean island.

The hotels and private homes have some really beautiful flowers that are big and showy. The “National Flower” of the Federation is a large spreading tree that towers 30 feet tall! One of our wild flowers has a single bud that is over 12 inches (30 cm) tall. But the bulk of flora and fauna is not quite so big and showy, look closely and see the small!

Look at the wild areas alongside our roads, it is filled with numerous tiny white, yellow, red and even blue flowers! Blue Rain Eyes peep out after an afternoon shower. Pink Paint Brushes hide in the weeds (they often are the weeds) and mix with multicoloured lantanas.

Then there are the flowers that try to look big, but aren’t. Bougainvillea flowers form shrubs and Poinsettias tower like trees at Golden Rock, but those bright colours aren’t the flowers, they are modified leaf-bracts! The flowers are in the center and tiny, less than ¼ of an inch across!

Then there are the native animals. Some giant moths are found, but tiny brilliant butterflies are the most frequently seen. The “large noise” at night is a small tree frog with a backbone just over 1/3 inch (9 mm). The most delicate lizard species is also one of the smallest now, check out the tiny geckos! Our Hummingbirds dart all around and most count them as small, but for hummers they are actually quite big.

Take some time to appreciate the wonders of Nevis, but look closely to see it all!

For more information please see our Definitive Caribbean Guide to Nevis.

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