To me, a cup of tea is not complete without a spoonful of honey. Our kitchen’s honey collection ranges from jars of amber-coloured local honey to pale, creamed honey brought back from previous travels. Our neighbours have hives, and the air is always buzzing with these beneficent harvesters. Plants depend on pollinators for their survival. … Continue reading Plants for Pollinators
By Nick Johnson In November 2020, Carla Reid and her daughter, Hannah, were out walking on one of the parcels of land owned by the Reid family on Cayman Brac. Both Carla and her daughter are keen naturalists. In fact, Hannah Reid writes a very informative blog about the traditional environmental knowledge of Caymanian people; … Continue reading Documenting two new plant species for the Cayman Islands
Once presumed extinct, the critically endangered Cayman sage, Salvia caymanensis, now has a home at Camana Bay. More than 80 plants are being placed in flower beds adjacent to the Foster’s flagship store by a joint team from Dart and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, which partnered to make the planting project come to … Continue reading Bringing Cayman Sage to Camana Bay
"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. … Continue reading Plants for Pollinators
Check out my article on local bush medicine in the Spring 2020 issue of Real Life Magazine here! To read the e-version of the magazine, click here.
"We carried those smoke pans anywhere we go, keep the mosquitoes from biting you. Those mosquitoes were terrible on Cayman." - Nell Connor (interview with Richard Westmacott) You don't need to talk to an older Caymanian or read archival interviews to know how troublesome Cayman's mosquitoes are. Despite 55 years of research and work by … Continue reading Put dat in ya pot an’ smoke it!
Aside from doing our part to curb the spread of COVID-19, one of the silver linings of sheltering in place has been the ability to pick up on the localised patterns of the natural world that usually go unnoticed. The birch trees are laden with berries, drawing bald pates and parrots to their boughs. Soon, … Continue reading Best Books for Budding Local Botanists
Common Name(s): Spanish Needles, Beggarticks, Black Jack, Devil’s Needles, Cobbler’s Pegs, Broom Stick, Pitchforks, Farmers’ Friends, Needle Grass Scientific Name: Bidens pilosa Medicinal Uses: None locally but the folkloric use of B. pilosa has been recorded around the world, from North and South America to Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Most often dismissed as a roadside … Continue reading Spanish Needles
"It was a big thing, it was a very exciting thing. It was a beacon that Christmas was coming." - Alan Ebanks (interview with Richard Westmacott) Christmastime is such an important part of Caymanian culture that it is part of our National Song, composed in 1930 by the late Mrs. Leila Ross Shier: "And when … Continue reading The Christmas Plants of Cayman
Common Name(s): Pepper Cinnamon Scientific Name: Canella winterana Medicinal Uses: The inner bark is used in a tea to treat fever, indigestion, sore throats, and aches and pains. However, be warned: the outer bark is toxic. With its dark, glossy leaves and scarlet berries, pepper cinnamon is a striking tree that is also critically endangered … Continue reading Pepper Cinnamon
On a recent trip on an old trail through the Hut, Mr. Nolan Smith pointed out a 'Headache Bush'. He said the best results are obtained from using the fresh, new leaves at the tip of the stem. – CINA Memory Bank Interview Common Name(s): Headache Bush Scientific Name: Capparis cynophallophora Medicinal Uses: Tea made … Continue reading Headache Bush
Common Name(s): Worry Vine, Vervine, Porter Weed Scientific Name: Stachytarpheta jamaicensis Medicinal Uses: Used in a tea to treat anxiety, heart conditions, coughs, fevers, constipation and colds. Leaves were mashed for use in poultices. Midwives used the entire plant either as a tea (in combination with cerasee) or vaginal irrigation. This bushy herb is described … Continue reading Worry Vine