Nature lovers learn about local flora

Interested residents of Grand Cayman recently had an opportunity to upgrade their knowledge of local flora – and get a little bit of exercise to boot.

A ‘bush walk’ organised by the National Trust and conducted by Denise Bodden last Saturday attracted about two dozen nature lovers. Ms Bodden took them on a guided tour in and among the bushes near Jasmin Lane, off Shamrock Road.

A volunteer with the National Trust, Ms Bodden has acquired extensive knowledge about local flora from her own research and from information passed on to her by self-taught botanist Ann Stafford.

During the early morning walkabout, the group learned of local trees with such scientific names as bauhinia divaricata – known locally as bull hoof.

The bull hoof is a nectar-producing plant of the fabaceae family. It is loved and sought after by butterflies and small birds.

Like most native plants, the bull hoof is highly salt-tolerant, a feature not found in imported plants.

Saturday’s nature walk was the inaugural event in what is hoped to be a monthly exercise sponsored by the National Trust.

Ms Bodden says that the ultimate objective of the National Trust is to get residents of the Cayman Islands acquainted with the flora of the country.

Since ‘one man’s weed is another man’s flower plant,’ she said, ‘it’s all about putting things in perspective; some of these things we call weeds or bush have considerable ecological value.’

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