The ideal climate of the park supports lush vegetation. Included in the vegetation are a wide variety of brightly colored wildflowers along the coasts and deep within the forests. This hibiscus was spotted near the beach at Cinnamon Bay.
Flowers of every hue can be found in the deep forests and along the roads, trails, and beaches.
The flowers below be found mixed with plants found in drier areas of the park.
These flowers are found high above the ground on the branches of trees surrounded by the lush green vegetation.
The virtually ideal climate on the island only 18 degrees north of the equator supports over 800 species of plants which cover most of the island. Nearly all of these plants are native to the island. Two of these plants can be seen below.
Given the climate on the island it is very surprising to many people to find cactus and other plants more normally associated with a desert area. However, the higher portions of the island receive the most moisture as the tradewinds blow across the mountains, and the southwestern section of the island lies in a rain shadow where moisture is less plentiful.
A number of these plants in the drier area can be seen below on the Yawzi Point Trail with Little Lameshur Bay in the background. This trail abounds with these plants.
Another cactus can be seen below on the left. On the right a mix of cactus and other plants can be seen.
The cactus mixes with with a variety of wildflowers and other plants in this scene.
More cactus can be seen in this view of the shore of Great Lameshur Bay.
The sea grape is common along the coast areas, as in this scene in front of some palm trees.
Over 65% of the island of St. John is covered by forest. However, during the days when agriculture was king on the island the original forest cover was cut, so what is seen now is second and third growth.
One of the most well known trees of the sub-tropical areas of the United States is the palm tree. The specimen below is seen in park lands on St. Thomas.
Another graceful palm can be seen in the picture on the left below. On the right is a gumbo limbo on the west end of St. John.
The gumbo limbo is one of the most distinctive trees on the island. The shiny bark is easily spotted and quite beautiful.
Another view of several gumbo limbo trees can be seen in this picture below. The gumbo limbo is sometimes called the "turpentine tree" and is common on the island.
On the left is a tree with a huge nest, probably a terminte's nest.
The leaves of the Jacaranda, or fern tree, resemble those of the mimosa plant or the mesquite.
This wonderful tree is found near the shore of Great Lameshur Bay.
This unusual kapok tree is found near Cinnamon Bay.
One of the most important trees of the national parks of Florida and the Caribbean is the mangrove. This tree, which is usually found along the coastal waters as in the picture below, builds land by sending its roots into the water and then trapping sand and silt among them as it is washed down from the hillsides. It grows quite well in brackish water.
The lime tree, whose deep green leaves are pictured below, thrive in the island's climate.
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- All photographs © Pat Holleran, Shannon Image Technologies, 1995-6
- Commercial use of the images contained in this document without express written consent is strictly prohibited.