The floral vegetation in the wildlife of Haiti consists of Hispaniolan moist forests (about 200 square kilometres (77 sq mi) only of undisturbed rainforest), Hispaniolan dry forests, Hispaniolan pine forests (in parts of the two national parks), Enriquillo wetlands (remnants of an old marine channel), and Greater Antilles mangroves which cover an area of only 134 square kilometres (52 sq mi).Giant tree ferns, orchids, bayahondes (a variety of mesquite) on the hill slopes, cacti, acacias, and thorny woods on the dry plains, and mangrove forests on the coast line.
Flora includes the Hispaniolan pine forests. The nation has 300 orchids and 600 fern species. Mahogany, rose wood and cedar are some of the trees that still exist at higher altitudes. Some of the underwater species are 35 species of hard corals in the reefs, 55 species of sponges, 12 gorgonians.
Less than 1.5% of the country’s original tree-cover remains. Haiti’s future is critically tied to reforestation; loss of tree cover has been so profound that exotic fast growing trees, rather than native species, are being used to halt soil erosion and lessen the risk of mudslides.
Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants of the mallow family, Malvaceae, and is native to warm-tempered regions in the world, like Haiti.
Avicennia germinans – Black mangrove, palétuvier, manglier noir, mang nwa – a medium size bushy tree; leaves opposite often salt encrusted; white tubular flowers; roots form thicket of numerous pneumatophores; adapted to salt water of tidal flats; must be carefully pruned.
Ruellia coccinea – Yerba maravilla – a small semiwoody shrub with red flowers; prefers moist soil and light to medium shade
Sesuvium – portulacastrum Shoreline sea – purslane, pourpier-bourd-de-mer – a sprawling, drought and salt tolerant groundcover; small fleshy leaves and semishowy purplish flowers; useful for stabilizing sand dunes
Metopium toxiferum – Poisonwood, bois mulâtre, maximier, machandeuse – a large shrub/small tree with attractive bark. Possible place in natïve habitat restoration but use otherwise strongly discouraged due to severe allergic dermatitis elicited by urushiols (long chain phenolic alcohols) present on all plant surfaces.
Spondias – mombin Yellow mombin, hog plum, grand mombin franc, momben – Fast growing, but sparsely branched, medium-sized tree grown for edible fruit (summer-early fall); deciduous during dry season.
Annona glabra (syn Annona palustris, Annona humboldtiana) Pond apple; mammier; coeur de boeuf, kowosol mawon – small/medium tree; requires permanently wet soil, fruit inedible.
Annona montana (syn. Annona marcgravii) Mountain soursop, kowosòl – small to medium tree; fruit similar to soursop (kowosol) but smaller and usually inferior; more cold-tolerant than soursop.
Annona mucosa (syn. Rollinia mucosa) Wild soursop; candón – a few fruit tree nurseries may have small trees; seed available on-line. Cold sensitive and needs plenty of moisture.
Asclepias curassavica (syn. Asclepias nivea var. curassavica) Scarlet milkweed; herbe madame; bouvin; ipeca d’Haiti Short-lived perennial with showy red flowers; self-seeds; widely used in butterfly gardens (monarch butterfly).
Echites umbellatus (syn. Echites echites; Echites ovatus) Wild potato – twining vine; tubular flowers with white, propeller-like corolla lobes; drought tolerant.
Pentalinon luteum (syn. Urechites lutea) Wild allamanda; corne cabrits – scandent shrub with striking yellow flowers; best if given some support (fence or trellis).
Plumeria x stenopetala – (P. obtusa x P. subsessilis) Frangipane – unusual frangipani native only to Hispaniola; very narrow white petal lobes; highly resistant to frangipani rust; available from at least one area nursery.
Rauvolfia nitida – Milk bush; bois saisiement; bois lait femelle, bwa lèt femèl Small tree/shrub with salver form white flowers; needs shade; limestone based soil.
Cocos nucifera – The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. The spelling cocoanut is an archaic form of the word.
Xanthosoma – is a genus of flowering plants in the arum family, Araceae. The genus is native to tropical America but widely cultivated and naturalized in other tropical regions. Know as Malanga.
Furcraea hexapetala Cuban sisal, bois pitre, bayonette, jenequén, pite pays – virtually stemless succulent herb with rosette of narrow lanceolate leaves (margins and tip spiny); possibly invasive.
Baccharis dioica – Broombush, bois laumet – woody base; green angular stems; leaves fleshy with entire margins; useful for ocean front sites (may be weedy).
Catalpa longissima (syn. Bignonia longissima) Haitian catalpa, French oak, bois chêne, chene hatien – medium/large, showy, flowering tree; flowers white to pale pink. In Haiti native stands have been decimated for highly valued timber.
Crescentia cujete (Crescentia arborea, Crescentia acuminata) Calabash, calebasse, higuere – small to medium tree; large ornamental fruit (pepo) with hard shell – used as containers after pulp removed. Under local conditions needs to be hand pollinated to reliably produce fruit.
Bourreria succulenta (Bourreria ovata, Bourreria revoluta) Bahama strong-back, mapou gris, Madame Jeanne – small tree/large shrub; white flowers and orangey fruit (inedible).
Cordia sebestena Geiger tree, bois d’ine, fleurs coquelicot, kòkèliko – small tree with bright green leaves and orange flowers; nativity to Florida questioned though may have been extirpated and later re-introduced.
Mammea americana Mammy-apple, abrikot peyi, z’abricot – an erect medium to large evergreen tree sometimes likened to a magnolia; fragrant waxy white flowers; edible fruit (seeds poisonous); prefers moist enriched soil.
Canella winterana (syn. Canella alba, Laurus winterana) Cinnamon bark, Camille, canella poivree, kanèl – small, slow growing tree, bluish waxy buds open as small dark red and yellow flowers, small red berries (inedible).
Conocarpus erectus (syn. Conocapus sericea, Conocarpus erectus var. sericeus) Buttonwood, mang nwa – shrub/small to medium tree; silver leaved form most commonly seen (overused).
Jatropha multifida (Jatropha hastata) Coral plant, médicinier des Indes, papaya sauvage, papay sovaj – small, fast growing tree, large deeply lobed leaves; terminal, muchbranched inflorescence with red stems bearing scarlet flowers; seeds poisonous. [Physic nut, feuilles médicinier (J. curcas) and bellyache bush, ti-mapou feuilles or médecinier batârd (J. gossypilifolia) both native to Haiti but less landscape appeal
Hymenaea courbaril (syn. Hymenaea stilbocarpa) West Indian locust, coubaril, gomme animee, pwa konfiti – a slow growing, potentially large tree with a spreading canopy and buttressed roots; a few specialist nurseries may have container plants but seeds are available.
Pimenta racemosa Bay rum, bois d’ine francais, clou de girofle, klou jiròf, myrte à feuilles de laurier – small tree with rounded canopy; shiny leathery leaves; source of bay rum essence.
Picramnia pentandra Bitterbush, bois poison, ojo de peje, valliant garcon, kafe mawon – large shrub, occasionally a small tree, with pinnately compound leaves and dark red, extremely bitter berries.
Stachytarpheta cayennensis (syn. S. urticifolia) is often sold as porterweed but is a taller shrub; it is native to Hispaniola but not Florida.
Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry family.