|Mokosoi Cananga odorata - The plant belongs to the Annonacae family commonly called the Custard-apple family. The clustered and very fragrant flowers are conspicuous with the 6 large pale green to yellowish petals, and the fruits (berry) turning from green to black when mature. Both flowers and fruits are available throughout the year. Traditionally, fragrant flowers are used for scenting body lotions and necklaces. Other parts of the plants may be used for medicinal purposes.||#colspan#|
|Uci Euodia hortensis - The plant belongs to the Rutaceae family commonly known as the Rue family or is best known for the citrus fruit. It is a small tree that can grow up to 2m. There are two forms of Uci differing only in one form having a simple leaf and the other, a compound (trifoliate) leaf. The flowers (petals) are white or yellowish, and fruits (a follicle) turn from green to pale brown at maturity. The fruits and flowers are found throughout the year. The leaves and flowers have a strong, pungent fragrance. It commonly grows in cultivation in towns, and villages and in some areas has naturalized in abandoned villages and secondary forests and thickets. Traditionally, the flowers (Inflorescence) are used in salusalu or leis and casually as tekiteki (flower on the ear) for both men and women and also to scent coconut oil. The leaves are used mostly in salusalu or leis. The plant has many other traditional uses as medicine, keeping spirits away, and as a herbal drink.||#colspan#|
|Fiji Endangered Flora|
|Cycad Cycas seemannii|
|Fijian Acmopyle Acmopyle sahniana|
|Fiji Magnolia – Degeneria vitiensis|
|Lau Fan Palm Pritchardia thurstonii|
The terrestrial rain forest of oceanic high islands in Fiji is home to a myriad of color and gaudiest form of more than 1800 native vascular plant species. Such spectacle is often taken for granted by the locals but has never failed to intrigue and amaze wildlife enthusiasts who have been visiting our shores since the early 1800s. One such group of wildlife belongs to the plant family Orchidaceae, more commonly referred to as orchids.
The word orchid is associated with “sumptuous flower”, with terms such as exotic, sexy, rare, expensive, beautiful, colorful and unique coming to mind. This family is the most varied and widespread with more than 30,000 species throughout the world, and where well over 100,000 hybrid strains have been artificially propagated. The orchid flower is what makes this plant different from all other flowering plants, especially the unbelievable variations in form and color. Many are astonishingly weird to have evolved to look like butterflies, bees, a fly and a swan. The perfume of some are unpleasant and maybe absent in others but in most of them there is an exquisite sweetness. They usually dominate (in terms of the number of genera) the higher plant flora of some other countries in the Pacific with similar flora as the upper Watuk region of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. The majority of orchids (over 80%) inhabit the cooler mountainous forests at altitudes of over 600m. Most are epiphytes, that is, they grow on trees for support and light.
The orchid flora of Fiji is represented by 65 genera with 164 native species, of which 51 are endemic (restricted to a region) to Fiji. Only a very small percentage of Fiji’s native orchids are cultivated. Whilst the collection of popular species from the wild can threaten the survival of the wild orchid population, their main enemy is habitat destruction. Thus the protection of some of our remaining natural forest is the surest way to conserve these unique plants which are part of our natural heritage.
Calanthe ventilabrum Reichenb.
The plant can be found throughout Melanesia and Samoa. The orchid was first discovered near Somosomo, Taveuni in 1860 by Berthold C. Seemann who was the then botanist of the British Government Mission, sent here to consider the proffered cession of Fiji. It is locally referred to as varavara, a generic term used for such form of plant. The orchid is terrestrial and is found in dense and moist forest on mossy crest thickets at elevations between 200m to 1300m. The plant can grow to 60cm tall and leaves can be as long as 90cm. The distinctive feature about the orchid is its showy many flowered inflorescence that is bright yellow, or golden yellow or yellowish orange. The orchid has been noted to flower from May to November.
Liparis layardii F. v. Muell.
The species also occurs in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Samoa. In Fiji the orchid has only been recorded on Viti Levu. It is the rarest of the eight species that occur here in Fiji. The plant is terrestrial with stems growing to 25cm and the inflorescence up to 30cm in height and is restricted to the moist and dense forest near the summit of Mt. Koroyanitu (1160m) and the upper slopes of Mt. Tomanivi (1300m). The distinguishing feature about the plant is that its inflorescence is dark purple and its flowers being light purple in color with the male parts having a range of color from green to white.
Dendrobium catillare Reichenb.
The orchid is only found in Fiji (endemic) where it was first discovered in 1860 from Mt. Bukelevu in Kadavu by Seemann. It is one of the nine endemic species in the genus. The plant is an epiphyte growing to 50cm long and is found in dense forest from near sea level to elevations of 1200m. A feature characteristic about the plant is their inflorescences are on older, often defoliate stems, and the flowers are bright pink with the tip segments white.
Dendrobium mohlianum Reichenb.
The genus Dendrobium has the largest number of species (21) in the orchid family. This species is also later known to occur on the Solomon Island, Vanuatu and Samoa. It was first discovered on Mt Voma, Namosi in 1860 by Seemann. It is an epiphyte and can grow up to 70cm in dense moist forest at elevations between 300m to 1300m. It is relatively common and can be distinguished by its bright orange to reddish orange colour. It is like the C. ventilabrum and is amongst one of the showiest and striking coloured orchids in Fiji’s rain forest. The orchid flowers throughout the year.
Glomera montana Reichenb.
The species is also known to occur in Papua New Vanuatu and Samoa. It was first collected on Gau Island, in Lomaiviti in 1855 by William G. Milne a botanist and naturalist aboard the H.M.S. Herald. The plant is an epiphyte (at times, terrestrial), erects to 1.2m tall and can be found in moist, dense and stunted forests of high ridges at 600 to 1300m elevation. The flower-head comprises 6-15 flowers that are entirely white with a pink or red tinged distal portion of the labellum (lowest of the three petals). Flowers occur from September to February.
Ferns and Fern Allies are amongst the most abundant primitive group is of vascular plants, pre-dating the ages of the dinosaurs. They have successfully diversified and continue to persist and inhabit any relatively wet areas of any forest system on both continental landmass and island complexes.
Fiji Islands has 301 species of ferns represented in 27 as with 90 genera.The majority (66%) of species are native 30% endemic.The remaining 4% are exotic and most were introduced as ornamental.
As those listed below are few of the more common and widely distributed native fern species of Fiji.
Balabala is the generic term for all tree that occur in Fiji. Cyothea lunulata is one of the nine species in the genus s typically common and indicative highly disturbed forest system, paticularly that of a rainforest. On occasions, this terrestrial tree fern can up to 20m tall but it is often observed at heights between 8-1 Om.With its tri-pinnate fronds growing up in length and its greenish to black primary branch that maybe smooth or rough with copious scales that is pale and thin with marginal hair like growth, this species can readily be observed from any coastal front to the upland rest system. Its medicinal properties are also well known amongst the people of Beqa as it apparently is a popular remedy alleviating sore throats. Locals also use the trunk scales to billows and cushions in addition to its use in buildings and flower pots.The distribution range of this species includes Solomon Islands to Vanuatu, New Caledonia,Tonga, Samoa be Caroline and Mariana Islands.
Locally known as the “bird’s nest”, this as is common and is widely outed in all forested areas. Of the species that are found in Fiji, A australasicum is first and foremost perhaps familiar to most because of its rosette of spreading fronds that facilitates the trapping and decomposition of humus from plants in the upper canopy. So together with its mass of roots form an effective water holding sponge for many micro-organisms. Interestingly enough a native species of earthworm and even a skink is known to live in this mass. In either its epiphytic or terrestrial growth forms, this species flourishes well in any light exposed area.
Known to locals generally as ota or more specifically lalabe, D. proliferum is a large terrestrial fern. It is usually found along or near stream banks but never in very shaded areas. Of the seven species occurring in Fiji, D. proliferum is distinct in that the fronds is simply pinnate with spiny stipe and veins with at least the basal pair united. D. proliferum is unique in the degree of lobbing of its pinnae is quite variable. Amongst the locals, the young frond of this species is a well known local vegetable delicacy.This species is also known to occur in Samoa, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea,Australia,Asia and Africa.
A scandent ground fern common in lowland areas locally known as diqidiqi. Of the 4 species occurring in Fiji, it is the only species with an epiphytic and terrestrial form. As an epiphyte, it is recognized by its dark green pendant fronds on tree trunks but in its terrestrial form, the erect fronds have a yellow green shade with relatively wider pinnae. In any case, this species is distinguishable by its scaly roots and 5 fronds that grow up to 1 m long and 20cm wide but more notably, that the sori occurs at much closer proximity to the rachis than all the other 3 species. Traditionally, it has been singled out that the infusion of its leaves with that of kalabuci (Acalypha spp.) eases delivery during pregnancy.This species is widely distributed throughout the tropics.
|Ferns of Fiji|
|Balabala (generic term for all trees that occur in Fiji) Cyathea lunulata - this terrestrial tree fern can grow from anywhere between 8-10 meters with recorded observations of 20m tall. , this species can readily be observed from any coastal front to the upland rest system. Its medicinal properties are also well known amongst the people of Beqa as it apparently is a popular remedy for alleviating sore throats. Locals also use trunk scales in buildings and flower pots.|
|Asplenium australasicum - Locally known as the “bird’s nest”, this is common and is widely familiar to most because of its rosette of spreading leaves that facilitates the trapping and decomposition of humus from plants in the upper canopy. So together with its mass of roots form an effective water-holding sponge for many micro-organisms. Interestingly enough a native species of earthworm and even a skink is known to live in this microenvironment.|
|Lalabe Diplazium proliferum - Known to locals generally as Ota, is a large terrestrial fern. It is usually found along or near stream banks but never in very shaded areas. Amongst the locals, the young leaves of this species is a well-known local vegetable delicacy. (Fiji has seven known species)|
|Nephrolepis-biserrata - Locally known as diqidiqi, is a scandent ground fern common in lowland areas (4 species occurring in Fiji), this species is distinguishable by its scaly roots and 5 leaves that grow up to 1 m long and 20cm wide. Traditionally, it has been singled out that the infusion of its leaves with that of kalabuci (Acalypha spp.) eases delivery during pregnancy.|
|Liparis-layardii - In Fiji, the orchid has only been recorded on Viti Levu. It is the rarest of the eight species that occur here in Fiji. The plant is terrestrial with stems growing to 25cm and an inflorescence (the complete flower head of a plant including stems, stalks, bracts, and flowers) up to 30cm in height and is restricted to the moist and dense forest near the summit of Mt. Koroyanitu (1160m) and the upper slopes of Mt. Tomanivi (1300m). The distinguishing feature of the plant is that its inflorescence is dark purple and its flowers are light purple in color with the male parts having a range of colours from green to white.||#colspan#|
|Dendrobium catillare - The orchid is only found in Fiji (endemic) where it was first discovered in 1860 from Mt. Bukelevu in Kadavu by Seemann. It is one of the nine endemic species in the genus. The plant is an epiphyte growing 50cm long and is found in the dense forest from near sea level to elevations of 1200m. A feature characteristic of the plant is its inflorescences are on older, often defoliated stems, and the flowers are bright pink with the tip segments white.||#colspan#|
|Dendrobium mohlianum - is an epiphyte and can grow up to 70cm in dense moist forests at elevations between 300m to 1300m. It is relatively common and can be distinguished by its bright orange to reddish-orange colour and is amongst one of the showiest and most striking coloured orchids in Fiji’s rain forest. The orchid flowers throughout the year.||#colspan#|
|Glomera-montana - It was first collected on Gau Island, in Lomaiviti in 1855 by William G. Milne a botanist and naturalist aboard the H.M.S. Herald. The plant is an epiphyte (at times, terrestrial), erects to 1.2m tall and can be found in moist, dense and stunted forests of high ridges at 600 to 1300m elevation. The flower-head comprises 6-15 flowers that are entirely white with a pink or red tinged distal portion of the labellum (lowest of the three petals). Flowers occur from September to February.||#colspan#|
|Calanthe Ventilabrum - The orchid was first discovered near Somosomo, Taveuni in 1860 by Berthold C. Seemann who was the then botanist of the British Government Mission, sent here to consider the proffered cession of Fiji. The orchid is terrestrial and is found in a dense and moist forest on mossy crest thickets at elevations between 200m to 1300m. The plant can grow to 60cm tall and its leaves can be as long as 90cm. The distinctive feature of the orchid is its showy many-flowered inflorescences that are bright yellow, golden yellow, or yellowish orange. The orchid has been noted to flower from May to November.||#colspan#|
|Dendrobium Biflorum - In Fiji, it is found only in Viti Levu and Ovalau growing in areas of strong light from sea level to 900 meters. The plants, growing as epiphytes on trees, build up large clumps of thin canes which can be 1.5 meters long. The flowers, usually in pairs, are about 3cm across with thin and spidery, pale creamy/yellow petals and sepals. They only last one day.||#colspan#|
|Dendrobium Macropus - This orchid is found only on Viti Levu in Fiji. The orchid grows as epiphytes on forest trees from the areas between sea level to 900 meters. The inflorescence starts near the center of the leaves. There is a spike of five or ten small scented flowers which are about 1 to 1.5cm across and are coloured pale to dark yellow with spots of maroon on the backs.||#colspan#|
|Spathoglottis Pacifica - This is a common orchid that is most often seen growing along roadsides in the wetter areas of Fiji from sea level to 1000 meters. It is also found in open forests in wet areas as well as on the islands of Lau, Kadavu, and the Yasawas. The inflorescence starts from the base of the plants and can be up to 1.5 meters tall with ten or more flowers 1.5cm long and 0.75cm wide. The flower's colours range from deep pink to mauve to (almost) white with a yellow mark on the lip.||#colspan#|
|Degeneria-roseiflora - Native flowers - A second species, D. roseiflora, was described in 1988 on different Fijian islands—namely, Vanua Levu and Taveuni. It is also a fairly common timber tree that differs from the first species in having magenta or pink flowers, smaller fruits, and bark of a different colour.|
|Degeneria-vitiensis - Native flowers - Degeneria is a genus of flowering plants endemic to Fiji. It is the only genus in the family Degeneriaceae, named after Otto Degener, who first found D. vitiensis in 1942. Classical studies of native stands of Degeneria from Vanua Levu and Viti Levu islands were conducted more than 30 years ago|
|Hibiscus Hibiscus | Rosa Sinensis -|
|Okra Abelmoschus Esculentus - Hibiscus and Similar Flowers|
|Mulomulo Thespesia Populnea - Hibiscus and Similar Flowers|
|Vau Hibiscus Tiliaceus - Hibiscus and Similar Flowers|
|Kura Morinda citrifolia - Medicinal Plants|
|Vevedu Scaevola sericea - Medicinal Plants|
|Lauwere Ipomoea pes caprae ssp brasiliensis -Medicinal Plants|
|Verevere Clerodendrium - Medicinal Plants|
|Frangipani Plumeria rubra - Frangipani Flowers of Fiji|
|Drividrivi Pseuderanthemum laxiflorum|
|Nawanawa Cordia Subcordata|
|Yaka Dacrydium nidulum - Yaka, one of Fiji’s renowned primitive conifers, is a member of the family Podocarpaceae. There are two species of Dacrydium in Fiji, both with the Fijian name Yaka, and both are very valuable timber trees. The endemic Yaka described here can grow up to 12-24 m in height. The fruits are purplish or brownish and become black at full maturity.|
|Pomegranate | Punica Granatum - The plant, which may attain 5 or 7 meters (16 or 23 feet) in height, has elliptic to lance-shaped, bright-green leaves about 7.5 cm (3 inches) long.|
|Yasi-Santalum-yasi - The plant belongs to the Santalaceae family better known as the Sandalwood family. Yasi is native to Fiji. The plant is a tree that can grow to as high as 12m with trunks reaching 30cm in diameter. The tree is semi-parasitic with the roots attaching to other host trees and providing water and some mineral nutrients. Accordingly, it is well adapted to periodic dry conditions. The flowers are rich pink to purplish red, and the fleshy fruits drupe turns from green to purple or reddish-violet when matured. The fruits and flowers are found throughout the year.|
|Man has cultivated palms from ancient times. While the number of palms propagated domestically has increased tremendously in modern times, palms in the wild are becoming more and more threatened. This holds particularly true of island palms where the encroachment of human populations has in some cases eliminated entirely a very localized endemic species. Even though some 2800 known species of palms exist today, 83% of these are not cultivated making palms among the most endangered of all plant families. 75% of all plants inhabit tropical rainforests. Fiji’s forests are home to no less than 24 native species of palms. 100% of these are endemic, meaning they are found nowhere else on the planet, indeed some are so localized that they may exit only in one small valley on one particular island. Should an area such as this be cleared for farming or logging, this species ceases to exit and is lost forever. Some of Fiji’s palms have only recently been discovered such as Alsmithia longipes features on these stamps. Alsmithia along with all but two of Fiji’s palms meet the criteria for being rare or threatened. Alsmithia has been proposed for IUCN* Red List Threatened Category Endangered. When one considers these facts and that Fiji ranks in the top ten places in the world for palm richness, putting it ahead of such hot spots as Sri Lanka and even the seychelles, a place world famous for its exotic palm, does the importance of these humble plants become apparent and how vital it is to preserve them. Alsmithia longipes is one of Fiji’s more recent discoveries and was only named in 1989 after the noted Pacific botanist and author of Flora Vitiensis, Albert C. Smith. Alsmithia has since become a very sought-after palm by collectors primarily because when this palm’s emerging leaf opens, it is deep pink or red for two weeks or more making a spectacular display. Even though collectors have been aware of this palm’s existence for over ten years, it is still very rare in nurseries. This is largely due to its rarity in the wild. It is only found in Taveuni and Vanu Levu in small isolated colonies of usually less than 100 plants. Alsmithia is also slow growing and only recently have cultivated plants produce seeds. Another remarkable feature of this palm that is less known is that its seeds is produced a unique fruity fragrance In its wild state, alsmithia is a delicate wet forest-dwelling palm quite inconspicuous in its surrounding except when it produces its crimson new leaf. Alsmithia has no crown shaft like a coconut palm. The name “longipes” refers to its usually long petioles or leaf stems. Seed dispersal for this palm seems to be quite limited. In spite of the fruity smell of its seeds, it does not seem to appeal to fruit bats who might carry seeds some distance to aid dispersal. Although it was observed that seeds are frequently chewed on probably by parrots, they were not carried off to be eaten and were simply dropped under the producing tree. Running rainwater seems to be the only means of dispersal. Certainly, this beautiful and rare palm needs more study and all efforts should be made to preserve this and all other endemic Fiji palms. Fiji’s Eco-tourism market is expanding and a growing number of these tourists are coming to Fiji just to see some of these palms. Aside from commercial incentives, palms like Alsmithia and all native Fiji palms should be protected and saved just because they exist and are an important part of Fiji’s rich natural heritage and, if no other reason than it being a beauty to behold.|
|Balaka Palm - Balaka seemannii|
|Mangroves of Fiji|
|Red Mangroves (“Tiri”) - grow at the water’s edge, with “prop” roots that stabilize trees in soft mud and wave zones. The sap is red in colour. In Fiji, there are two species of trees that live in this manner, and one sterile hybrid when both species are present – Spotted Mangrove, Samoan Mangrove, and Hybrid Mangrove.|
|Black Mangroves (“Dogo”) - are usually found behind Red Mangroves, in muddy areas that flood at high tide. They may have “prop”, or “elbow” roots that stick up out of the mud, sometimes both. In Fiji there is only one species of Black Mangrove – the Large-Leafed Mangrove. The fruits and seeds are black and used in dyes - Large-leafed Mangrove|
|White Mangroves - White Mangroves are often not recognized by the layman as part of the mangrove community. They are very salt-tolerant trees that grow on dry land immediately behind the wet mangrove areas, and can survive occasional salt-water inundation, and salty soil. Salt is sent out through the leaves, giving the underside of the leaves a white colour. In Fiji there are several species of trees which live in this environment – Teruntum Merah Mangrove, Looking Glass Mangrove, Blind your Eye Mangrove and the Cannonball Mangrove|
|Fan Shaped Jelly Fungus - Dacryopinax Spathularia - This is a jelly fungus with small gelatinous fruitbodies which rarely exceeds a height of one centimeter. They are found in tree stumps and dead wood. Although variable, the fruitbodies are typically petal-shaped and are yellowish-orange when fresh but soon dry up to a reddish brown colour and become hard. They are attached to rotting wood by a short, furry, stern-like base. The fruitbodies are only fertile (produce spores) on one side.|
|Podoscypha involuta - This is a stalked bracket fungus with a variable colour. It grows in stumps of dead wood and fallen trees. As with most fungi, it grows for the major part of its life cycle as fine strands (hyphae) absorbing nourishment from the material through which it grows, in this case, rotting wood. It produces fruiting bodies on the surface of the wood, 1 to 6cm high and of a similar width. They vary in form from fan-shaped to funnel-shaped. The upper surface is light brown with narrow darker zones. When young, it has a fine furry surface. The lower (or outer) surface, which produces spores, is yellow or orange with a white outer edge. As it becomes older, the whole surface becomes brown.|
|Lentinus squarrosulus - This is one of the most common forms of a larger fungus. The fruiting bodies usually occur in clusters of three to six, but occasionally in clusters of 20 or even 30. The fruitbodies grow rapidly, but only have a short life span and are easily damaged by rain. The caps range from 2 to 7cm in diameter and the stem is about the same length. The whole structure is white and may be recognised by zones of small scales on the cap and stem and by the very crowded gills under the cap.|
|Scleroderma flavidum - This is found growing in small groups, the young stages being almost buried in the ground. The fruit body is 2 to 4 cm in diameter, usually in the form of a rather flattened sphere and attached on the underside of the soil. The outer skin is initially smooth and a light straw yellow in colour. It later develops cracks and finally splits around the apex into several lobes. The internal brown spore mass is then exposed and spores are carried away by the wind.|
|Phillipsia Domingensis - This fungus is found throughout the tropics. Although it is quite small, it is one of the larger and more conspicuous of the cup fungi, most of which are very small. Its fruiting bodies are found either singly or in groups of 2 to 4 on rotting wood. At first, they are cup-shaped, but later they become flattened into a disc or saucer. The cup is attached directly to the rotting wood or has a very short stalk. The upper surface is fertile, producing spores that are actively shot into the air. This inner surface varies from dull red to reddish-orange and in some cases, a violet colour. It remains smooth or slightly veined. The outer surface is white to cream in colour and has a fine granular or furry surface.|