Plants

What do you think?

We want to know what you guys would like to read here on the blog. We have some cool posts in the works about travel, surfing, climbing, and exploring. But what do you want? Is there an island you want to know more about? Perhaps and extreme sport you want us to feature? It’s all about you! Our guides and friends are a really talented bunch of folks and the possibilities are endless. So let us know in the comments what you would like to read about, and we will try to get right on it.

Remember to Stay Extreme!

-The TLE Crew

Categories: Adventure, Culture, Diving, Extreme Sports, Food, Hiking, Other Islands, Plants, Rock Climbing, Sailing, Sports, Stand Up Paddling, Surfing, Tree Limin' Extreme, Twitter, Video, Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands National Park, Weather, Wildlife, Ziplining | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plant of the Week: Manchineel Tree

While our past plants of the week have been fruits widely consumed in the islands, we are going in a different direction this week.

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A large Manchineel tree on a beach.

This is the Manchineel Tree. It is one of the most poisonous plants in the world. Native to Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean, the Manchineel tree is commonly found along sandy beaches. The tree produces small apple like fruit, has oval shaped shiny green leaves and can grow in excess of fifty feet tall.

The tree is notorious in the areas in which it grows. While no deaths have ever been recorded from the tree, it is indeed seriously poisonous. In fact, the fruit of the tree were supposedly named “manzanita de la muerte” or little apple of death, by Christopher Columbus himself. Records indicate that several of his crew were made gravely ill after consuming the fruit. The tree gets it’s nefarious reputation from a caustic form of latex in it’s sap. If touched the tree or leaves can cause dermatitis, swelling, burns, and blisters. The most common injury from the tree comes from taking refuge under one during a rain storm. The sap is so caustic, the rain drops coming from the tree can cause burns. Even the smoke from a burning manchineel can cause injury. The fruit of the tree carries the same dangerous chemicals, and its effects when ingested are similar to its external effects. Compounding the danger of the tree is the fact that some people report that the fruit actually taste pleasant at first. Allowing an unsuspecting creature to take several bites of the dangerous “apple.”

The tree isn’t all bad though. It is classified as an endangered species in Florida due to it’s important role as a wind break. It also plays a crucial role in the prevention of beach erosion. In the caribbean, this is extremely important to protecting vulnerable coastlines during tropical storms and hurricanes.

Luckily, injuries from the manchineel are rare. In areas where the tree is common they are well marked, and public education about its dangers makes people aware. Signs are often posted, and their warnings should be heeded. Any tree with a red band, or a skull and crossbones (the poison symbol) painted on it should be avoided. If contact occurs, seek medical treatment.

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A warning sign found in Virgin Islands national Park, the fruit of the tree can be seen laying on top of the sign.

Here at Tree Limin’ Extreme, we offer samples of local fruits, but the fruit of the manchineel isn’t on the menu. Because we are not located near beaches, we have no manchineel trees on our property, and most of these trees in the Virgin Islands are well marked.

To see many other types of plants and animals from high in the rainforest canopy, come have the ultimate caribbean experience on our ziplines. See us at Tree Limin’ Extreme. Call for reservations at 340-777-9477 or visit our website at www.ziplinestthomas.com

Stay Extreme!

-The TLE Botanical Crew

Categories: Adventure, Other Islands, Plants, Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands National Park | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plant of the Week: Soursop

In this installment of plant of the week, we are again checking out a popular fruit here in the Islands. This is the Soursop:

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The soursop is an evergreen tree native to Mexico. It now grows throughout the tropics from the Caribbean and Africa, to Southeast Asia. The tree is adapted only to warm climates, and cannot grow in areas with cold winters.

The soursop is also know as a guanabana, graviola, or a Brazilian paw paw. The last name is a reference to the fact that the soursop is indeed related to the paw paw tree. The tree produces a large fruit that has become a popular edible in the tropics. The fruit is even mentioned in Sri Lankan mythology. The fruit is large, green, and has the appearance of being covered in spines. Inside, the white pulp is edible, and is highly prized for it’s tasty juice. Some say it tastes like a cross between strawberry, pineapple, and citrus.

The soursop is not just prized for it’s flavor though. In virtually all of the areas in which it grows, it is highly sought after as a herbal remedy. The fruit, seeds, and leaves all have a variety of uses in traditional and herbal medicine. There have also been recent scientific studies that have found that certain soursop extracts may have cancer fighting properties.

Soursop is very popular here in the Virgin Islands. They can be found at many fruitstands and markets all around our islands. If you want some adventure with your soursop come see us at Tree Limin’ Extreme. Our ziplines are located in a rainforest with a variety of tropical plants and fruits. We even have soursop! But be sure to call for reservations at 340-777-9477.

Stay Extreme!

-The TLE Garden Club

www.ziplinestthomas.com

Categories: Culture, Food, Plants, Virgin Islands | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plant of the Week: Genips

A branch of genips

This is the first of a weekly series of posts that will help everyone to learn a little more about our islands. Every week we will highlight an interesting plant, animal, and local island. Check back for updates every week!

For this week we are featuring the Genip. Also known as a quenepa, spanish lime, or mamoncillo. It grows throughout the tropics around the world.

The fruit grow on large trees and can be found, most commonly, along roadsides throughout the Virgin Islands. The fruit are small, slightly smaller than a golf ball, and are bright green when ripe. The season for genips is short, only a couple months in late summer. They are eaten raw by removing the outer skin, and putting the rest into your mouth and scraping the flesh of the fruit off of the large pit with your teeth. They taste like a sweeter, but still tangy lime.

You can find genips being sold by the branch all over the roadsides and in fruit stands during the season. They are best enjoyed with friends on a hot summer evening, and preferably on a beach.

If you come to visit our zipline here during genip season, we may have some around to sample, along with a variety of other native fruits. Here at Tree Limin’ Extreme, we want our guests to have the ultimate Caribbean experience, and our guides have extensive knowledge of the local plants, including genips. They are “da island ting!”

Remember to call for reservations at 340-777-9477

Stay extreme!

-The TLE crew

Categories: Culture, Food, Plants, Tree Limin' Extreme, Virgin Islands | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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