“Their lives are dedicated to making, to transforming. Even when they take, they can’t help but create. They are beneficent harvesters, pollinating plants in their wake. They leave a legacy of blossoming, fruiting.”

– Pam Grossman, “Beeing”

Local pollinators – like bees, butterflies and bats – are essential to the health of our natural ecosystems. And yet, all around the world, pollinators are facing threats from pesticides, pollution, diseases and habitat loss that are directly related to human activity.

One way we can support our local pollinators is by growing plants that offer nectar and larval food sources. Check out the list below for plants that will bring your garden to life with the colour and sound of our local pollinators.

  • Amytis Elemifera | Candlewood
  • Antigonon leptopus | Curlin’, Coralita, Corallila
    • This climbing vine with pink flowers is a favourite with bees and butterflies, earning it the name “Bee Bush” in other Caribbean countries.
  • Argusia gnaphalodes | Sea Lavender
  • Asclepias curassavica | Red Top, Scarlet Milkweed
    • While not native, this colourful ornamental is a favourite in local gardens where it attracts Soldier and Queen butterflies. The sap is caustic, so take care with young children.
  • Asystasia gangetica | Ganges Rose, Bermuda Primrose
    • This humble plant makes a wonderful ground cover. It is hardy, drought tolerant and comes in a variety of colours.
  • Bidens alba | Spanish Needles, Black Jack
    • So much more than a roadside weed, you can read more about the importance of this plant here.
  • Bauhinia divaricarta | Bull Hoof
  • Caesalpinia pulcherrima | Pride of Barbados
    • Though not native, this pretty plant is a nectar source for butterflies in the Pieridae family.
  • Capparis cynophallophara | Head Ache Bush
  • Capparis flexuosa | Bloody Head Raw Bones
  • Clitoria ternatea | Bluebell
  • Cordia bullata var. globosa | Black Sage, Blood Berry, Butterfly Bush
  • Cordia sebestena var. caymanensis | Broadleaf
  • Croton linearis | Rosemary
  • Croton nitens | Wild Cinnamon
  • Delonix regia | Poinciana
  • Lantana sp. | There are several species of Lantana found locally.
  • Lippia alba | Providence Mint
  • Passiflora sp. | Any of the several Passion Flower species that can be found locally.
  • Portulaca oleracea | Pusley, Purslane, Hog’s Weed, Pig’s Weed
    • Don’t pull up this little plant! Aside from being a favourite with pollinators and Blue Iguanas, it also makes a healthy addition to salads and smoothies.
  • Ruellia tuberosa | Duppy Gun
    • Though not native, the related Ruellia simplex or Mexican petunia is another ornamental that attracts butterflies.
  • Salvia caymanensis | Cayman Sage
    • Previously thought to be extinct, this beautiful little herb has been successfully propagated by the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park horticultural team and is now growing at Camana Bay.
  • Suriana maritima | Juniper, Jennifer
  • Sesuvium portulacastrum | Sea Pusley, Sea Purslane, Shore Purslane
  • Stachytarpheta jamaicensis | Worry Vine, Porterweed, Vervine
  • Turnera ulmifolia | Dashalong, Cat Bush, Yellow Alder
  • Volkameria aculeata | Cat Claw
  • Ziziphus mauritiana | Coolie Plum, Dunk, Dums, Juju

This list is not exhaustive. To learn more, visit: Cayman Butterflies

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