Name this plant contest

Time is running out to enter the contest to give a local name to a unique Cayman plant. Students eight years and over in all Cayman schools are encouraged to enter.

The deadline is next week Friday, 1 February.

The plant’s scientific name is Hohenbergia caymanensis, but some people think it deserves a name that is easier to remember and make it as well-known as other endemic Caymanian plants, such as Duppy Bush or Banana Orchid.

Mat Cottam, senior research officer at the Department of the Environment, describes the Hohenbergia as a distant cousin of the pineapple; a giant bromeliad with leaves that can grow more than three feet long. Found originally only in the Ironwood Forest of George Town, some specimens have since been moved to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.

Mr. Cottam said the competition is meant to encourage students to think about their environment and teach them about some of the plants that make these islands truly unique. ‘I’m not sure what the prize will be yet, but it will be something pretty exciting,’ he said.

The contest was announced in the latest Darwin Initiative newsletter, distributed to schools electronically.

Names for the plant may be submitted via the Internet or delivered to Mr. Cottam at the Department of Environment on North Sound Road or mailed to Mr. Cottam, Dept. of environment, PO Box 486, KY1-1106.

Entries must contain the student’s name, age, school; the name suggested and why the plant should be called that name.

The internet address for the contest is www.caymanbiodiversity.com

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