We hope that each of you, our readers, will enjoy and appreciate this article we’ve prepared about these 5 Tantalizing Island Trees. It was certainly our great pleasure to compile the information for you. May it provide you with both education and increased awareness.
Certainly, however, these few species listed herein represent only a portion of the flora found in this region. It’s our belief, though, that they serve as excellent representations of the wonders that abound here. Check out our other articles for similar marvels.
Canary Island Date Palm
Canary Island Date Palm Facts
- Leading off this article about these 5 Tantalizing Island Trees comes the beautiful fauna known as the Canary Island Date Palm.
- This product of evolution and Nature most frequently goes by the informative common name we’ve used herein. The tree also has another general name, though. That’s because it’s also known by the shorter term of the pineapple palm.
- Among professionals, such as researchers, however, it’s generally better known by its official title. That moniker, though, as often occurs, is somewhat hard for the layperson to pronounce. That’s due to it having the formal name of Phoenix canariensis.
- The tree received that name due to the work of the respected French botanist, Jutin-Benjamin Chabaud. He made the first formal acknowledgement of it as a separate and distinct species. This noteworthy action occurred in the late 19th century.
- It’s also been widely dispersed due to its popularity as an ornamental plant. This has, however, led to its being considered an invasive species in parts of the world. It’s now naturalized in areas outside its native range, including Bermuda and the United States.
- It further appears to be maintaining a population base that’s both stable and sufficient. This also seems to hold true throughout the entirety of its native range. The IUCN, therefore, presently has no listing for it on the organization’s published Red List.
- The impressive Canary Island Date Palm nevertheless does face some potential threats to its existence. Habitat loss could, at least in its natural range, eventually pose a danger. Its greatest threat, however, likely consists of ongoing climate change.
Canary Island Date Palm Physical Description
The Canary Island Date Palm ranks as one of those plants that impresses those who encounter it. In its case, though, it does so for a variety of reasons. While simple physical size isn’t its only, or even greatest, appeal, it nonetheless remains worthy of mentioning.
Fully mature specimens attain average heights measuring about 66 ft (20 m). Exceptional individuals do occur, however. These rare examples sometimes reach heights of as much as 131 ft )40 m)! That makes this species a truly remarkable member of its specific Order.
The trunk also boasts impressive attributes. This part of the flora often achieves diameters of up to 3 ft (90 cm). This relatively thick, columnar-shaped structure typically presents as a grayish-brown in mature specimens. The trunk boasts diamond-shaped leaf bases.
The foliage of this amazing work of Nature develops on both sides of a long, thin stem. These also crreate a remarkable image themselves. That’s due to the fact that they average 13 – 20 ft (4 – 6 m) in length! Between 80 -100 leaflets appear on each side of the stem.
The flowers produced by the Canary Island Date Palm serve as yet another intriguing aspect of the tree. It produces these in large quantities. Each develops a beautiful creamy-yellow shade. So many develop, though, that they hang in panicles up to 4 ft (120 cm) in length.
Its fruit adds yet another noteworthy feature to its list of appealing characteristics. These appear with a reddish yellow color, and a shape reminiscent of dates. These fruties typically measure approximately 1 in (2.5 cm) in length. Its typical width equals around 0.4 in (1 cm).
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Class: Monocotyledonae
- Order: Arecales
- Family: Arecaceae
- Genus: Phoenix
- Species: P. canariensis
Canary Island Date Palm Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The fabulous Canary Island Date Palm evolved as native to a region of the globe well known for its abundance of natural wonders. That’s due to the fact that this wondrous marvel of Nature and evolution evolved as endemic to a beautiful region of the Atlantic Ocean.
More specifically, as the name itself implies, the tree developed in the Canary Islands. This archipelago, itself an extraordinarily beautiful region, lies within the greater area known as Macaronesia. The continent of Africa remains the closest major land mass to the islands.
Given its native range, this intriguing Angiosperm developed certain habitat requirements. Somewhat surprisingly, though, it’s also comparatively adaptible. In its native environment, it lives in regions of warmer temperatures, rich soils, and copious humidity.
Yet it also displays a surprising flexibility that amazes many people. Despite its development in a Mediterranean-type climate, it also flourishes, in cultivation, in sub-tropical climates. This includes such regions as the southeastern United States, and eastern Australia.
The gorgeous Canary Island Date Palm plays an important natural role in its native ecosystem. Its fruit nourishes a wide range of indigenous species. To the further suprise of many who learn of it, the principal pollinator of the species appears to be the weevil.
Propagation of the tree occurs exclusively due to spreading of the copious seeds produced. This happens due to a variety of causes. Simple dropping of the seeds by overripe fruit obviously makes the list. It also manages this via the droppings of birds that eat the fruit.
Bois Dentelle Facts
- Next up among our choices for inclusion in this compendium of 5 Tantalizing Island Trees we present the visually stunning Bois Dentelle.
- The somewhat poetic term used for the plant serves as the generally accepted term for an exceedingly beautiful variety of tree. Quite unfortunately, this marvel of Nature also qualifies as one of the rarest known species of tree in the entire world.
- Also bearing the truly cumbersome scientific name of the Elaeocarpus Bojeri, only 10 known specimens exist in the wild. Attempts to preserve the species by growing them in greenhouses, from seeds taken from them, remain ongoing.
- For the moment, however, success in this endeavor continues to extremely limited, with large-scale success eluding botanists. Thankfully, though, the few remaining specimens in the wild now enjoy a certain measure of protection.
- This occurs because their habitat now qualifies as both a religious site and an environmental refuge. The situation nonetheless remains incredibly worrisome for those who appreciate and value these beautiful works of Nature.
- Quite understandably, the IUCN currently lists the beautiful Bois Dentelle as Critically Threatened on its Red List of Threatened Species. In its specific case, the plant faces extreme peril from the dual threats of habitat loss and climate change.
Bois Dentelle Physical Description
Given that it also bears the common name of Lace Wood, the physical characteristics of the visually stunning Bois Dentelle come as no surprise. That particular term derives from the very delicate, lace-like patterns of the gorgeous flowers it produces.
The breathtaking tree also represents a tropical perennial that attains a comparatively moderate height of only 20 ft (6 m). The same flowers have become famous around the world for their frilled edges and delicate beauty, making its potential loss even more tragic.
In color, the gentle blooms of the marvelous Bois Dentelle typically display a gorgeous bright white, though a few may be a tan or cream in color. These same flowers also grow quite long, have a bell shape, and exist in copious quantities within large clusters.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiosperms
- Class: Eudicots
- Order: Oxalidales
- Family: Elaeocarpaceae
- Genus: Elaeocarpus
- Species: E.bojeri
Bois Dentelle Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Since only a tiny handful of specimens of the magnificent Bois Dentelle still survive in the wild, its endemic range obviously remains incredibly limited. For the moment, it also remains unknown if that natural range ever extended much beyond what it inhabits now.
More precisely, this tragically rare plant only appears on one small hillside on the island of Mauritius, off the coast of Africa. Although its not known if it’s an indicator of a requirement or not, this area also happens to lie within the confines of the cloud forest on the island.
Appearing as it does, on that single hilltop, which bears the name of the Piton Grand Bassin, this lovely tree struggles to survive. Once pollination has been achieved, the magnificent lacy blossoms generally appear between the months of July to September.
Quite lamentably, its own natural habitat has been almost completely overtaken by several invasive species. These mainly include commercially viable plants, such as the guava, and a variety of evergreen shrub named the Litsea monopetala.
Kauai hau kuahiwi
Kauai hau kuahiwi Facts
- The third entry into this listing of 5 Tantalizing Island Trees bears the tongue-twisting common name of the Kauai hau kuahiwi.
- The hard to pronounce term listed here serves as the common name for a beautiful variety of flowering plant in the mallow family. The common name for the plant comes directly from the native languge of the local Indigenous Peoples.
- Although this term may be difficult for the majority of people to pronounce, it’s likely more easily pronounced than its formal name. That’s because the official scientific term for his fascinting species is the tongue-twisting term of Hibiscadelphus distans.
- It’s also known sometimes as simply the hau kuahiwi. Presently, this wonder of Nature has no accepted common name in any other language. Regardless of which term one uses to refer to it, however, it remains a highly fascinating, and quite lovely, plant.
- Amazingly, the first known official recognition of it as a separate and distinct species did not occur until the year 1973. This scintifically noteworthy event represented the combined accomplishment of 2 researchers, L. Earl Bishop, and Derral Herbst.
- Sadly, though, the remarkable Kauai hau kuahiwi remains an extremely rare species within its native range. Due to this, the IUCN currently lists it as Critically Endangered. That listing appears on the organization’s published Red List of Threatened Species.
- Given the precariousness of its situation, it naturally faces many threats to its continued existence. Obviously, any amount of habitat loss poses a danger to it. Its greatest threat, however, likely comes in the form of the effects of climate change.
Kauai hau kuahiwi Physical Description
The marvelous Angiosperm known as the Kauai hau kuahiwi impresses those who know of it for reasons other than sheer size. That’s due to the fact that it’s also quite versatile in terms of its own shape. That’s because the plant appears as both a small tree and a shrub.
The maximum measured height of any individual specimen measured roughly 16 ft (5 m). Most of the other known trees of this species actually attained a much smaller height. The variations appear to depend upon local conditions for each individual example.
The bark of this tree also holds its own distinctive visual appeal. That holds true due to the fact that, both on the slim trunk and the numerous limbs, these typically possess a smooth texture. Mature specimens further generally develop a very well-rounded crown.
That foliage itself has a marvelous and distinctive nature. The leaves of the plant typically develop in a heart-shaped pattern. These further average between 1.6 – 3.9 in (4 – 10 cm) in length. Each also displays rounded serrations, as well as star-shaped hairs underneath.
The flowers of the Kauai hau kuahiwi also hold a unique appeal. These average 1.2 – 1.6 in (3 – 4 cm) in length. They’re also surrounded by small triangular structures. The perals begin life with a greenish yellow color. That, however, slowly changes to maroon shade over time.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiosperm
- Class: Eudicots
- Order: Malvales
- Family: Malvaceae
- Genus: Hibiscadelphus
- Species: H. distans
Kauai hau kuahiwi Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Regrettably, the known area of habitation for the Kauai hau kuahiwi remains extremely limited. In point of fact, it only appears on a single island. More precisely, the plant only lives on the island of Kauaʻi in Hawaii, which forms part of the country of the United States.
Even there, however, the beautiful Angiosperm only inhabits a tiny section of the island. In fact, to the knowledge of researchers, only two naturally occuring concentrations of the species exist. Both of these, furthermore, appear in the Pu’u Ka Pele Forest Reserve.
Both populations also appear in one, somewhat rugged area there. That’s because the groupings inhabit the Lower Koaiʻe Canyon area. These populations consist of only 20 wild specimens, along with another 120 that have been reintroduced to the region.
Each of the concentrations also appear at either low or middle elevations. All known specimens inhabit an altitude that ranges between 1,000 – 1,800 ft (300 – 550 m) above sea level. These examples further live in the greatly eroded remains of dry, native forests.
The plant seems to have adapted to very steady environmental conditions, as well. The mean temperature where it lives only ranges between 65.3 -78.3 F (18.5 to 25.7 C). This rare plant also seems to require very dry, crumbly soil, overlaying basaltic bedrock.
Unfortunately, a landslide destroyed one previously known population of the Kauai hau kuahiwi 1989. Yet another grouping was completely destroyed in 1992, by the effects of Hurricane Iniki. Thankfully, two botanical gardens now cultivate the plant, though.
Jellyfish Tree Facts
- The fourth species listed in this compilation of 5 Tantalizing Island Trees holds the highly distinctive name of the Jellyfish Tree.
- This highly evocative term serves as the most frequently used common name for an extremely unusual type of tree, to say the least. Its official scientific name, however, remains that of the all but unpronounceable Medusagyne oppositifolia.
- Regardless of which of these particular terms one chooses to use for it, this remarkable flora stands out for a most unfortunate reason. In point of fact, this fascinating tree currently ranks as one of the rarest known species of tree on earth.
- Researchers had, in fact, previously believed this marvel of Nature to be extinct. Then, to the sincere amazement of those same researchers, a chance discovery of a handful of specimens took place in the early 1970’s, exciting botanists worldwide.
- Presently, only around 30 known specimens exist in the wild, within an incredibly tiny area. Quite understandably, the IUCN currently lists the amazing Jellyfish Tree as Critically Endangered. This status appears on the organization’s Red List.
- Since its population remains so terribly small, as well as its remaining zone of habitation, one danger it faces comes from potential habitat loss. Its greatest threat, however, may now come in the form of the ongoing effects of climate change.
Jellyfish Tree Physical Description
Although the fabulous Jellyfish Tree does impress those individuals fortunate enough to encounter it, it does not do so due to sheer size. Somewhat surprisingly to some, this highly distinctive tree only ranks as a moderate-sized variety of tree.
Exceptional specimens attain measured heights of as much as 33 ft (10 m). Most individuals, however, remain somewhat smaller than that. It also develops a thick canopy, composed of densely interlocked, slightly elongated foliage, with a dark green color.
These leaves themselves, in fact, typically reach lengths equaling around 3.1 in (8 cm), and have a thick, leathery texture. The thin trunk of the tree develops a comparatively distinctive bark, displaying a dark color, along with deep, interlocking fissures.
The tree also bears both male and female flowers which develop small in size and white in color. Like Medusa, arguably the fruit represents its most unusual aspect. Its distinctive shape truly is remarkable, since it bears a strong resemblance to a jellyfish.
The fruit of the fascinating Jellyfish Tree also merit attention and appreciation for their distinctiveness. These develop with a rounded shape, like many fruits, and displaying a bright green color. This later changes to reddish-brown as it ages.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiosperms
- Class: Eudicots
- Order: Malpighiales
- Family: Ochnaceae
- Genus: Medusagyne
- Species: M. oppositifolia
Jellyfish Tree Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Quite regrettably, the distinctive Jellyfish Tree only inhabits an extremely limited and restricted area of the world. For the moment, researchers have found no evidence that the marvelous plant ever existed anywhere outside of its current, tiny zone of habitation.
More precisely, the fabulous flora only appears on the tiny tropical island of Mahe. This island itself forms the main island of the Seychelles, considered as part of the continent of Africa. Even there, however, it only resides within a very tiny niche in the ecosystem.
Not only does that qualify as tiny, but the very nature of that exact habitat serves to further complicate its efforts to survive, let along to spread. In fact, all known specimens appear within 1.2 mi (2 km) of the sea, and grow in the cracks of exposed granite outcroppings.
This, understandably, appears to be severely hampering the survival efforts of the Jellyfish Tree. The few seeds produced by the surviving, mature trees, either fall on pure stone, thus having no chance to germinate, or find themselves quickly blown out to sea by the winds.
Although theories abound, one leading theory proposes that those tress alive today actually represent the outlying members of its original population. The idea is that invasive species in its original habitat, wherever that was, overtook the others.
Kentia Palm Facts
- Closing out this article about these 5 Tantalizing Island Trees is the fascinating variety of flora known as the Kentia Palm.
- This gorgeous variety of tree continues to be most frequently referred to by the common name. It also holds claim to a unique status. It also has several other common names by which some refer to it, usally applied in various parts of the world.
- That’s because it’s also sometimes referred to by either the term of palm court palm or thatch palm. Professional researchers, however, typically refer to it by its scientific name. That’s the somewhat difficult to pronounce term of Howea forsteriana.
- The Italian naturalist, Odoardo Beccari made the first known official recognition of this tree as a separate and distinct species. He gave the plant its name in honor of the father and son team of naturalists, Johann Reinhold Forster and Georg Forster.
- This work of Nature gained great popularity as an ornamental plant during the Victorian Era. That popularity holds true even today. Due to that, more specimens of the palm tree likely exist outside of its natural range than appear in that range today.
- For the moment, the IUCN lists the fabulous Kentia Palm as Vulnerable. That status appears on the organization’s published Red List of Threatened Species. That’s because, while it’s widely distributed as an ornamental, in its native range it faces threats.
- Given its natural range, the threat of habitat loss remains one ever-present danger. It’s cultivated in that natural range, for its seeds, for the trade. Thankfully, that’s regulated, though. The extent of its range, however, makes it vulnerable to climate change.
Kentia Palm Physical Description
The beautiful Kentia Palm draws the attention of those who see it due to factors other than sheer size. That’s because it’s only a moderate-sized variety, compared to its many relatives. Yet, physical size alone isn’t always the most impressive feature of any species.
In its case, though, that’s not an important aspect of its visual appeal. This marvelous work of evolution attains a maximum known height of only about 33 ft (10 m). The spread of its many palms, however, frequently reaches as much as 20 ft (6 m) in total width.
In contrast, the trunk generally remains relatively quite slender. This further appears dark green while young, and slowlsy changes to brown over time. This feature of the tree also manifest numerous brown rings, resulting from the shedding of earlier palms.
Typically, around 36 of the impressive fronds appear atop the tree. These develop in a feather-shape, and range from 7 – 10 ft (2.1 – 3.0 m). This foliage also develops at the end of slender stems, themselves as much as 4 ft (1.3 m) in length. This makes for a striking crown.
This same foliage also presents its own striking color contrast. That’s because the leaves of the Kentia Palm present 2 different shades. The upper surface develops as a dark green in color. The lower side, meanwhile, presents a significantly lighter shade of green.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiosperms
- Class: Monocots
- Order: Arecales
- Family: Arecaceae
- Genus: Howea
- Species: H. forsteriana
Kentia Palm Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
In the wild, the remarkable Kentia Palm faces dangers due to the nature of its habitat range. That holds true due to the fact that this wonder of Nature evolved as endemic to a highly limited portion of the globe. That’s because it only appears on 2 islands naturally.
Those 2 realtively small islands form part of what today we know as the fascinating country of Australia. Both locations actually lie at great distances from the mainland, however. This perhaps accounts for why the amazing tree does not appear on the continent itself.
In both locations, however, the species displays a fascinating, and highly helpful, adaptability. Due to that characteristic, it appears in virtually all parts of both islands. It also thrives in a wide range of temperatures, so it appears at both lower and higher altitudes.
It remains a comparatively slow-growing species, however. The small, oval-shaped fruit, as a result, rarely appears before an individual specimen reaches the age of 15 years. Once this process begins, however, the blooms and fruit generally develop every year.
Either in its native range, or the many parts of the world it’s been transplanted to, it shows its adaptability to different conditions. It does, though, have its preferences. It adapts well to regions of full, direct sunlight, but nevertheless clearly prefers shade or partial shade.
The germination rate for the Kentia Palm, at least in its native area, remains low, unfortunately. That’s part of its somewhat precarious state. The plant further requires an adequate amount of rainfall, with adequate drainage, to prevent rotting of the roots.
5 Tantalizing Island Trees
We sincerely hope that you have completely enjoyed reading, and hopefully learning from, this article about 5 Tantalizing Island Trees. It’s also our fervent hope that doing so has left you with either a new or renewed appreciation for such wonders of Nature.
Unfortunately, however, many other such flora around the world now find themselves facing dire threats to their continued existence as a species. Many of those dangers, in fact, stem from the actions of mankind. We must do all we can to protect and preserve them.