Native plants of Cayman

By Joanne Mercille

This particular plant is only found locally on Cayman Brac.

Phyllanthus nutans ssp. grisebachianus

This infrequent small tree is glorious in full bloom. New shoots emerge with a golden hue while the lime green leaves are characteristically curved, resembling little umbrellas. The fruits hang heavy on their peduncle.

Dimensions: 10ft high X 6ft wide
Growth habit: ‘V’ shaped habit
Flowers: White/pink blush
Soil requirement: Well-drained, good soil
Light requirements: Full sun to dappled shade
Environment tolerance: Drought-, but not wind-tolerant
Nature attracting:
Butterflies and day moths

The very restricted distribution of this plant is limited to Cuba, Dominican Republic and Cayman Brac.

Horticulture potential
This is a lovely gem that should be propagated for local landscaping.

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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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