Click for Saint John, Virgin Islands Forecast
Cruz Bay, St. John

Sign-up for our newsletter

Aerial photos of St. John

Leave Paradise in its Place

where to stay on St. John, USVI where to play on St. John, USVI Virgin Islands National Park who to hire on St. John, USVI useful info about St. John, VI
overview
campsites
hotels / inns
resorts
villas (by owner)
villas (by agent)

art scene
boating
dining
fishing
health and fitness
island hopping
land activities
nightlife
shopping
scuba
water activities

overview
facilities
beaches
programs
marine life
nature trails
plant life
wild life
suggested reading

car rentals
caterers
cyber cafes
business services
real estate agents
financial services
tour operators
taxi tours
travel agents
weddings

events calendar
ferry schedule
getting here
history / culture
info request
island maps
sky watch
webcam

flora

The natural beauty of St. John is the island's most jealously-guarded treasure.  It's diverse terrestrial biota make St. John a life-long adventure for nature lovers who come, again and again, to visit as well as those "bahn heh".  In the sea, multi-variant species provide a vividly-colored, ever-changing panorama.  Dive into St. John's breathtaking beauty.

Enjoy the beauty of St. John any time of the year. The Hibiscus plant does very well in the Caribbean.
Enjoy the beauty of St. John any time of the year. The Hibiscus plant does very well in the Caribbean.

Air Plant Air Plant 
Airplants are Bromeliads that get their name from the fact that they grow not in soil, but instead attached to branches (epiphytically) and rocks (saxicolous). Air plant leaves possess tiny scales, properly called trichomes, that serve two major functions. First, they assist the plant in absorbing water and nutrients by holding greater amounts of water against the leaf surface for a longer period of time. Second, they help to reflect the intense sunlight off of the leaf surface that can be so common in their growing environment. These trichomes are what give many of the air plants their characteristic gray color.

Aloe Plant Aloe  
(aloe barbadensis)
Cultivated in small island gardens or growing wild in the bush, Aloe is a boon to all who know it.  Visibly similar to the agaves, this stem-less plant has leaves that, when broken, emit a gelatinous ooze that relieves the pain of sunburn and many other maladies.  Just rub it on directly from the plant.  It is nature's gift to carefree (or careless) beachgoers.

Barrel Cactus Barrel Cactus 
Ferocactus, meaning "fierce or wild cactus," are always cylindrical or barrel shaped. All members of this genus have prominent ribs and are fiercely armed with heavy spines. In some species, one or more central spines are curved like a fishhook, accounting for the common name Fishhook Barrel Cactus.  Barrel Cactus flowers always grow at the top of the plant. They bear no spines and only a few scales. Fruits become fleshy and often juicy when mature, but are not usually considered edible. Native Americans boiled young flowers in water to eat like cabbage and mashed older boiled flowers for a drink. They also used the cactus as a cooking pot by cutting off the top, scooping out the pulp and inserting hot stones together with food. The spines were used as needles in tattooing. The pulp of barrel cactus has been widely used for making cactus candy (thus one of its common names, Candy Barrel Cactus), but this has also accounted for its destruction and, therefore, protected status in many areas.

Bougainvillea vary in colors- but be careful of thier thorns!

Bougainvillea

With many varieties and colors, it is no wonder that this bush is seen so often. Colors range from a dark red to a subtle white. Leaves are small, elliptical, and become narrow to a point. Flowers grow in clusters of bright color, excluding the white for obvious reasons, and the purple that tends to fade with age. Enclosed inside each "paper" case is a single, tiny, tubular, white flower. This plant is named after Louis de Bougainville, whom was a French navigator.  While in Brazil, he found these beauties and brought them back to his home in Europe for cultivation. They readily root from cuttings, prefer full sun, and can withstand drought as well as heavy pruning.  When admiring these beauties, be careful not to grab a hold of their stem. They do have large, widely spaced thorns.


Calabash

Calabash

The fruit and flowers of the Calabash grow out of the tree's trunk.  The tree can grow as tall as 30 feet with long, thin branches and clustered leaves.  The flowers of the Calabash are bell shaped, each about 2 inches and a pale yellow color.  The meat and juice from the Calabash is poisonous but is said to have medicinal properties when used properly.  The Calabash is often used for decorations, purses, bowls and maracas.


Century Plant

Century Plant  
(agave caribaeicola)
During most of its life, the Century Plant looks menacing - a ground-hugging, stem-less creature whose prickly, sword-like leaves are tipped with razor-sharp thorns.  However, after 10 or 20 years, a large fibrous stalk shoots skyward with amazing speed (some reach 20 feet or more).  Brilliant flowers burst forth, eventually fade and the entire plant dies.  You will see these climactic phenomenons on many of the hillsides of St. John.


Coconut Palm

Coconut Palm
(cocus nucifera)
A mainstay on the island (although not native to the Virgin Islands) is the Coconut Palm.  It thrives in sand and sandy soil.  It graces nearly every beach on St. John.  It's great for shade but be careful not to park your beach chair directly under its ripening fruit.


Coffee Coffee
The coffee plant is probably the world's favorite plant.  It has leaves that are about 10-15 cm long, elliptical, and a beautiful dark green color, with a lighter green underside.  White flowers emerge from the branches with the leaves, the have petals and a scent similar to Jasmine and usually last 2 to 3 days.  Berries emerge, are cherry size; they start green and upon maturity turn to a deep red.  It will take 8 months for them to ripen.

False Pineapple or Pinguin

False Pineapple or Pinguin

The Pinguin produces a compact rosette that may contain as many as 40 leaves. The stiff, linear, long-attenuate leaves are up to 2 inches across and and can be up to 6 feet in length. They are serrated and armed with sharp thorns-like stubs. Most of the prickles curve toward the leaf apex but an occasional one curves toward the base. The leaves gradually change from a shiny green to a reddish color as they age. White or pinkish flowers are produced and arise from the heart of the plant.  The leaves of this plant yield a strong fiber. The main fruiting season is from May to November, though fruit can occasionally be found during the remainder of the year The small amount of pulp is acid but makes an excellent refreshing drink. It is a fair source of calcium and vitamin C. The pinguin also is a source of a protein-splitting enzyme, pinguinain. This enzyme can be used as a meat tenderizer.


Hibiscus Flowers come in a variety of colors.

Hibiscus

Because of its great beauty and hardiness, the Hibiscus has become a well-known and well-loved plant. It may be the official flower of Hawaii, but the Hibiscus can be seen in the Virgin Islands growing wildly along the roadside, or elegantly covering a window by someone’s home. Its presence is also seen in the states, unfortunately, during winter month's, it can only thrive indoors.  There are  many different species of this beauty, one being from Asia, the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, and one from East Africa, the Hibiscus schizopetalus. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has leaves that are simple and broadly oval. They narrow into a point and are about 3 to 6 inches long. Blooms are solitary, enormous, 5-parted and come in colors of red, orange, pink, yellow, lavender, or white.  Less common are combinations of these colors. Schizopetalus, has coarsely toothed leaves, narrowing outward into a point, and a shorter stalk with a somewhat wavy surface. Flowers are a pale red. The 5 petals are bent back, deeply and repeatedly cut and curved into a striking display. They are very similar to one another, except the schizopetalus has leaves that are more distantly spaced, and the branches are more delicate. The flower from any Hibiscus, whether on or off the plant, will remain fresh all day, and then wilt in the evening. A dye obtained from the red petals, though useful, will stain clothes. The petals of the Hibiscus can also be boiled, sweetened and made into a tea.  A cutting from this hardy plant, when placed in water for a few weeks, will readily root.  Locally, these plants are attacked and harmed by tiny white insects. Green Tea, steeped and sprayed on the infected leaves, helps to rid these pests without the use of chemicals. 


Manchineel Manchineel
(hippomane mancinella)
This attractive, inviting tree is the one villain of beachside flora.  Its fruit, which resembles a small green apple, is very poisonous.  Its sap is milky and causes skin irritation.  Even standing under it during a rain shower can have "itchy" consequences.  The operative word here is "avoid".  You will often see warning signs on or about these trees.

Night Blooming Salad
Photo©DesertUSA.Com
Night Blooming Cactus  
The night-blooming cactus resembles nothing more than a dead bush most of the year, but for one night each summer, its exquisitely scented flower opens at night fall, then closes forever with the first rays of the morning sun.  The Night-Blooming Cereus has sparse, angular, lead-gray, twiggy stems about 1/2 inch in diameter. Extremely small spines grow along the 4 to 6 ribs of these woody stems, which can easily break. It can be erect or sprawling, reaching a length of up to 8 feet.  The Night Blooming Cereus has a tuberous, turnip-like root usually weighing 5 to 15 pounds which Native Americans used as a food source.

Noni Fruit Noni
Morinda citrifolia, or Noni,  is referred to as "painkiller" for its medicinal value.  The fruit, leaves, and bark can be used to ease pain.  Many locals swear by it, but many will not drink it unless they can no longer bear the pain.  The fruit of this tree has an incredibly bad smell and taste.  It has been discovered that the Noni juice also
supports the  immune system, aids in digestion, and increases mental clarity and attention span.  The leaves can be applied directly to the pain filled area and relief will shortly follow.

Papaya Fruit Papaya
A papaya tree can be spotted by its soft, greenish and hollow trunk topped with many spiraled, umbrella-like clusters of large leaves bearing pear shaped fruit. In the wild, papaya trees are either male or female.  Occasionally, the male plant will bear flowers setting into fruit but usually the female bears the fruit.  Plants sometimes begin flowering within 3 to 4 months from seed and will fruit for 2 to 3 years.  The trees are rapid growers and survive shipping well, unlike many tropical fruits, which make them great for exporting.  They are now commonly in northern markets.  The fruit's ripe flesh is sweet and can be used in desserts, salads, juices, or even as a wonderful breakfast melon.  The flesh contains an enzyme used as medicine and as a meat tenderizer.  It is said that it is a safe non-surgical treatment for a slipped disc.   

Pipe Organ Cactus Pipe Organ Cactus
This columnar cactus is the second largest in the U.S. (next to the Saguaro) growing as tall as 23 feet. Instead of having a central stem, however, a cluster of 5 to 20 slender branches grow from a point at ground level and curve gracefully upward.

These water-storing trunks are about 6 inches in diameter and have 12 to 17 deep-green, rounded ribs. The areoles are set close together with 9 or 10 brown, 3/8-inch radial spines that turn gray with age.

Fruits lose their spines at maturity, opening to display an edible red pulp. This fruit has provided a food source to Native Americans for centuries. The pulp can be eaten as is, made into jelly or fermented into a beverage.


Prickly Pear

Prickly Pear

 The prickly pear can be found throughout the island.  Many use it for it's decorative properties.  This particular cactus possesses jointed stems formed of  flattened segments covered with hairs.  The flowers are yellow or orange, sometimes blushed red near the base.  The fruits are purple.  During harvesting, gloves can be worn to avoid being wounded by the spines and hairs.  The sweet fruit is usually eaten raw, alone or placed in fruit salads.


Seagrapes Seagrape  
(coccoloba uvifera)
Because they are so wind-resistant, Seagrape plants abound on most islands of the Caribbean.  Full grown, they provide wonderful shady copses on many St. John beaches.  You will see hammocks strung from trunk to trunk.  The ripe fruit is sour but is sometimes "put up" as preserves by long-time St. Johnians.


where to stay on St. John, USVI where to play on St. John, USVI Virgin Islands National Park who to hire on St. John, USVI useful info about St. John, VI
overview
campsites
hotels / inns
resorts
villas (by owner)
villas (by agent)
art scene
boating
dining
fishing
health and fitness
island hopping
land activities
nightlife
shopping
scuba
water activities

overview
facilities
beaches
programs
marine life
nature trails
plant life
wild life
suggested reading

car rentals
caterers
cyber cafes
business services
real estate agents
financial services
tour operators
taxi tours
travel agents
weddings
events calendar
ferry schedule
getting here
history / culture
info request
island maps
sky watch
webcam
Great News! U.S. Citizens do NOT need a passport to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands!
(St. John, St. Croix & St. Thomas)

site produced by
 

photos + content © gotostjohn.com - all rights reserved
about us | advertising | privacy statement | contact us

See our sister sites:
www.GoToStCroix.com
and www.GoToStThomas.com

Proud to be in

America's Paradise

 

 

 

 

St John, U.S. Virgin Islands, Plan your next vacation and where to stay by visiting GoToStJohn.com, the only online information written by residents for U.S.V.I. visitors.

Here are some of the topics we cover at GoToStJohn.com:

st john vi,st john usvi hotels,st john villas,st john maps,virgin islands national park,saintjohns,vi national park,beach st. john,boat rentals st. john,car rentals st john,caribbean art,saint john maps,st.johnusvi,saint johns,st john accommodations,st john beaches,st john boutiques,st john camping,st. john lodging,st john condos,st john hotels,st john island,st john real estate,st john rentals,st. john villas,st john resorts,st. john vacation homes,st. john resorts,st john restaurants,st john scuba,st john us virgin islands,st john usvi maps,st john vacation rentals,st john villa rentals,st john virgin islands,st john weddings,us virgin island honeymoons,us virgin island tourism,st john's island,vacation package st. john,st. john usvi rentals,vacation st. john,vacation villa st john,virgin islands honeymoons,virgin islands real estate,virgin islands weddings,stjohns,wedding in virgin islands,st. john us virgin islands,st. john accommodations,st. john boat rentals,st. john car rentals,caribbean hotels,st. john caribbean,st. john hotels,boating caribbean,st. john maps,st. john real estate,st. john rental villas,st. john u.s. virgin islands,st. john usvi accommodations,st. john usvi car rentals,st. john usvi hotels,st. john usvi maps,st. john usvi real estate,st. john usvi vacation rentals,santo juan,st. john vacation rentals,st. john virgin islands hotels,st. john virgin islands real estate,island villas,st. john weddings,st. johns usvi,santo john,west indies beach,stjohnusvi