This tree is relatively common in the limestone regions of Bonaire, but also grows plentifully in the volcanic areas of the island. It loses all of its leaves in the dry season, after which the tree produces a beautiful crown full of golden-yellow flowers. The timber of the typical grooved stems was much valued in the past because a red dye could be extracted from it, resulting in large-scale logging of this species.
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Haematoxylum brasiletto
- ENGLISH NAME: Dyewood, Brasil wood
- DUTCH NAME: Verfhout
This smaller tree is most easily recognized by its distinctive growth. The stem is short and branches out quickly with long horizontal and often hanging branches. The leaves grow directly on the branches in the wet season; in the dry season this tree quickly becomes bare. The fruits are very large, up to 10 centimeters wide, and can grow directly out of the branches and stem. It is one of the favorite foods of the Lora, although they can only eat the fleshy inside when the fruits have fallen to the ground, where they usually break. The fruits are occasionally eaten by people, but only after being roasted or cooked.
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Crescentia cujete
- ENGLISH NAME: Calabash
- DUTCH NAME: Kalebasboom
This large evergreen tree can reach 12 meters in height and has a smooth, grey stem. It is not native to Bonaire but has been naturalized, which means it has become part of the natural ecosystem of the island. However, it is still rarely found in the wild and is most commonly found around Kunukus and in local gardens. It produces a delicious edible fruit that is loved by the Lora and other birds, and tastes a little bit like Lychee.
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Melicoccus bijugatus
- ENGLISH NAME: Spanish lime tree
- DUTCH NAME: Knippa
This large tree or shrub can be found on all soil types of Bonaire but is most common in volcanic areas. It produces white-yellowish flowers in beautiful large bunches. After flowering, these bunches will produce white sticky fruits that are edible but have a bitter taste. The wood is used to make ‘Palu di funchi’, a kitchen utensil for stirring the local Funchi dish.
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cordia dentata
- ENGLISH NAME: White Manjack
This evergreen tree is very common on Bonaire and is easily identified by its olive-green colored leaves and dark brown stem. Leaves on young Oliba trees are usually shaped long and narrow, whereas older trees have shorter and rounder leaves. The tree has some local medicinal applications, as it is used to treat tetanus and muscle ache.
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Quadrella odoratissima
- ENGLISH NAME: Black willow
This evergreen tree prefers the limestone hills of Bonaire but can also be found on volcanic slopes. Although it looks very much like the Oliba (Quadrella odoratissima) but is far less common. It can be identified by its thicker and more golden tinted leaves, although the typical dark-green color remains dominant. The seedpods are also larger than the Oliba. When they open up, the bright red inside is revealed.
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Quadrella indica
This large tree grows up to 10 meters high and has a very typical red and peeling bark, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the ‘tourist tree’. The timber, together with the Palu di Sia Blanku, was often used for donkey saddles because of the light wood. Both species are also commonly used as living fence-posts because of their ability to grow from cuttings. The tree is furthermore used in a wide variety of local medicinal applications.
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Bursera simaruba
- DUTCH NAME: Rode zadelboom
This small tree grows, on average, to 3 meters in height. After the first heavy rains it will quickly start flowering with beautiful white-purple blooms. The development of the cherries, some of the most delicious wild fruits on the island, is also rapid. The bright red cherries are very sweet and it is said that only 3 berries contain enough vitamin C for the daily intake of a person. Although much favored by people, the cherries are also eaten by the Lora, Mockingbirds, Trupials, and even the Blue whiptail lizard.
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Malpighia emarginata
- ENGLISH NAME: West Indian cherry
- DUTCH NAME: West Indische kers
This spiny tree or shrub usually grows in a dense and unorganized way. On Bonaire it is not very common, but can be found on both limestone and volcanic soils. The curling seedpods are bright red and when they split open, the black seeds and white seed coating is revealed.
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pithecellobium unguis-cati
- ENGLISH NAME: Cat’s claw
This beautiful tree has dark green leaves with a rough surface. The fragrant white flowers are frequently visited by hummingbirds. Many birds, including the Mockingbird, Trupial, Bare eyed pigeon and Prikichi, eat the bright orange fruits that follow. It is said that an energizer tea can be made out of 3 Watakeli leaves.
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Bourreria succulenta
This tree is commonly known due to its wind beaten asymmetrical shape. It almost never loses all of its leaves during the dry season, unless it grows in a very unfavorable place. The ripe seed pods contain a high amount of tannins and these pods have been an important export product of Bonaire in the past. Locally, the seed pods were used for black or brown paint, and for medicinal purposes.
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Caesalpinia coriaria
- ENGLISH NAME: Divi-Divi
- DUTCH NAME: Dividivi, Waaiboom
This slow growing evergreen tree produces a very heavy and durable wood that will sink when put in water. It was used for shaft sleeves in boats, because the high resin content of the wood prevented wear by lubricating itself. The English common name is ‘Lignum vitae’ or “wood of life.” The tree has been used in many local and international medicinal applications; as an example, for a long time the timber extract was used to treat syphilis.
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Guaiacum officinale
- ENGLISH NAME: Roughbark Lignum-vitae
- DUTCH NAME: Pokhout
REFORESTATION OF BONAIRE
With Your Help
Trees that are symbolically adopted through My Bonaire Tree have been or will be planted into the established reforestation areas. Reforestation sites have been carefully selected to ensure that the trees you help us plant will have the greatest chance to survive and thrive. Your adoption helps us nourish seeds of hope in our native plant nurseries and to care for them as they sprout and grow into trees of change. Once planted into reforestation areas, these trees will be carefully managed and monitored to ensure their success. This includes supplemental watering and protective measures as needed. This work is being carried out by the qualified volunteers of Echo’s team. Each tree will be revisited to monitor its progress over time. For more on the process visit our Planting Cycle page.