Native plants of Cayman

Parrot Berry (Bourreria venosa) by Joanne Mercille

The berries on this ever-blooming bush attract wild birds.

Bourreria; Strongbark / Bourreria venosa

Parrot Berry is an erect, sturdy, large bush with a loosely branching canopy that is often heavily laden with flower clusters and fruits.

Although it is drought-tolerant, it is deciduous at the height of the spring dry season. The summer rainy season will bring on fresh new leaves.

It is not wind-tolerant.

The trunk is also colourfully striated with grey rings and red splashes of fungus.

The fruits of the Parrot Berry are coveted by many species of birds, especially in the spring, when the increasing drought conditions do not offer much sustenance to the ecosystem.

Height: 15-to-20 feet
Growth habit: Single, dapple-grey trunk with a loose, weeping canopy.
Flowers: Clusters of ever-blooming white flowers, yielding yellow/orange fruits.
Soil requirement: Well-drained.
Light requirements: Dapple-shade to full sun.
Environment tolerance: Drought-tolerant but not wind-tolerant.
Nature attracting:
Birds such as baldpates and parrots love the fruits.

In the larger Caribbean, Parrot Berry is found from Tobago to Cuba and the Bahamas, as well as in Florida

Locally, it is found on Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

Horticulture potential: This ever-blooming bush is an excellent landscape specimen: Tall enough to provide shade to the surrounding garden and food for many birds. It is a moderate-growing tree, which means you can enjoy a mature tree in no time.

Bourreria venosa is generally found in the dry woodland hammock, but it will also easily adapt to irrigated urban landscapes.

About Joanne Mercille
Mercille has called Grand Cayman home since 1997 and she has a keen interest in local flora. She is curator for the National Trust Herbarium and has created an online database for public viewing of the physical herbarium. She is also webmaster for and owns Caribbean Blooms – a native plant nursery. She is an avid gardener and member of the Garden Club of Grand Cayman.

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