Vegetation of Saint Helena

Vegetation of Saint Helena

The endemic plants of Saint Helena include much notable Cabbage Tree or, “insular arborescent Asteraceae”, members of the daisy family which have evolved a shrubby or tree-like habit on islands.

The original vegetation of St Helena has been almost entirely destroyed and little is known about it. Using relict occurrences and historical records, hypothetical distributions have been constructed for the indigenous plants. Multivariate methods are used to reconstruct seven putative former vegetation zones that correspond well with historical records. The replacement of past vegetation zones by the present ones has been complicated by the interaction of history with site factors through browsing, grazing, erosion, cutting, clearance, and plant introduction.

One of the most distinct qualities of St. Helena flora is its degree of endemism. Another is the threat of extinction it faces due to human impact. The introduction of goats by the Portuguese in 1502 began this process, coupled with the introduction of non-native flora and timber cutting. Today you can still see the endemic St. Helena redwood, St. Helena dwarf ebony, and black cabbage tree.

BirdLife International has designated much of St. Helena as an Important Bird Area due to the abundance of sea breeding birds and land birds there. Noddies, terns, petrels, and tropicbirds nest on St. Helena, along with the island’s only surviving endemic bird: the St. Helena plover, also known as the Wirebird for its wire-like legs. Though there are no endemic land mammals on St. Helena, seals and whales provide other photographic opportunities in addition to all the birdlife.

So few Non-governmental organizations including local nature lovers are working to restore and protect the remaining bit of the vegetation of Saint Helena while travelling to Saint Helena on safari you can participate on one of the tree planting projects for more information you can contact the tourism office of Saint Helena.

Size & Location
How to get there
Areas of interest
When to visit
Where to stay