National Trust volunteers were at the Mission House site on Saturday, March 25, clearing logwood trees from the site.
According to the Trust, logwood is an invasive species, once cultivated for dye-making, that is harmful to native vegetation.
As previously reported in the Compass, the Trust notes that logwood is a common tree on Grand Cayman, where it was introduced in the 1700s as an agricultural crop. Early settlers planted logwood as a cash crop, as the heartwood of the tree was used to extract a bright red to almost black dye.
The tree is shallow rooted and many hundreds of trees were blown over by Hurricane Ivan. The trees produce large clusters of fragrant yellow flowers that swarm with bees. The trees are spiny and grow into dense, impenetrable thickets.
Logwood is now naturalized and is invasive, spreading rapidly and displacing other native trees and plants. Today logwood can be found in almost every low seasonally-flooded area of Grand Cayman.
“The Trust is attempting to remove it from all of its properties including the Mission House, so plants that truly belong will have room to grow,” said Trust marketing manager Danielle Watler.
“This project has been sponsored by a grant from the European Union’s voluntary scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of Europe overseas initiative, in partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in the U.K.,” she continued.
“This is one of many ongoing opportunities for Trust members to get involved through volunteering that doesn’t require long-term commitments, high-cost donations or corporate work-groups.”
For more volunteer opportunities with the Trust, email [email protected] or call 749-1121.