News & Blog
Christmas Present for the British Virgin Islands: A New Cactus Species.
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 at 10:33 AM
The new and rare cactus S. fimbriatus in the
foreground and the common P. royenii in the
background. Note that the latter is grayish blue.
Biodiversity researchers from Island Resources Foundation:
Jean-Pierre Bacle (l) and Kevel Lindsay. The two carried out
research in Virgin Gorda to assess the flora and fauna of
the island as part of the Foundation’s Environmental
Profile Programme for the British Virgin Islands.
The BVI population of Stenocereus fimbriatus was discovered along the mangrove trail that runs from Bitter End to Biras Creek. It is known to be endemic to the Greater Antilles (i.e., Jamaica, Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico) and has also been recorded on nearby St. John, USVI, where it is considered to be quite rare.
The discovery of this rare cactus is one of many exciting research findings of scientists Kevel Lindsay and Jean-Pierre Bacle of Island Resources Foundation (IRF). Kevel and Jean-Pierre are members of an environmental study team currently preparing an Environmental Profile for Virgin Gorda. The Virgin Gorda Profile is part of a larger environmental profile programme under the leadership of IRF, which includes the Jost Van Dyke Environmental Profile prepared in 2009 and current studies to prepare profiles for Virgin Gorda and Anegada by the end of 2012.
In addition to the identification of a new cactus species for the BVI, Lindsay and Bacle also discovered other rare plant species including a rare shrub (Nashia cf. inaguensis), locally used as a medicinal plant. It is another first record for the BVI. Other rare and endangered BVI plant species were observed, including a rare Virgin Islands Endemic shrub, Croton fishlockii, and the Machaonia woodburyana, a shrub or small tree endemic to St. John and Virgin Gorda.
In all, over 20 species of birds and over 100 plants were observed on Virgin Gorda during the October field studies by the IRF research team.
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