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Fauna & floras
Fauna and Flora St Barts
St Barths climate and soil do little to make it ideal for farming and the cultivation of traditional West Indian crops such as sugarcane or banana.
Nevertheless, various tropical species do flourish here, such as sea grapes in coastal regions, manchineel trees, and a unique cactus endemic to Saint Barth, referred to as “tete a l’Anglais”.
Few trees have had their own importance in the island’s history, most notable of these are the Lignum vitae (ironwood), and the latan palm .
Ironwood is used for house and boat construction, but also for its medicinal values, recognized as antidote for syphilis, and antiseptic for urinary infections. Its useful nature did not act in its favour, though, and the plant has today become victim of its fame.
It is now under strict protection and is extremely rare, though you can come across some specimen in the area of Gouverneur.
Latan palm, a special kind of palm tree, was introduced rather late to the island (late 19th century), and is largely used as fibre for the manufacture of local handicraft.
Wild animals are scarce, though you may be able to spy out a few iguanas: a rather irky sight, but as gentle and timid as can be, which significantly reduces your chances of spotting one.
The king of the island, however, is definitely the pelican .
A clumsy walker, but a formidable diver is this bird, dashing to capture its prey with the swiftness of an arrow when in water.
The pelican is highly respected on St Barths, of which it is the emblem, and is known as a symbol of generosity.