Rare Brac plant in need of a name

| 03/11/2017 | 29 Comments
Cayman News Service

Nameless plant on Cayman Brac

(CNS): A rare shrub that grows only on one small area of the Bluff on Cayman Brac is in need of a name. High on the cliffs overlooking the community of Spot Bay, a unique Verbesina, the only one that lives in the Cayman Islands, has found a home in the upper rock face. But writing in the most recent issue of the DoE’s Flicker magazine, Fred Burton, the head of the Terrestrial Research Unit, said that this plant has no local name.

“Although it seems never to have commanded enough attention to gain its own traditional name, this is a particularly special plant for Cayman Brac,” he said. “In the entire world, Verbesina caymanensis (as botanists call it) is unique to Cayman Brac; and as far as we know, within Cayman Brac it only occurs on the Spot Bay and Northeast Bay cliffs.”

Burton said it is easy to recognise by its lobed leaves. It produces white flowers in the summer after rains and seems to prefer the rock faces and ledges above the canopy of the forest that grows at the foot of the cliffs.

But like many of Cayman’s unique indigenous and endemic species, this rare plant is under threat from an invasive plant, the shamrock (Tecoma stans), which is not native to Cayman but is competing for the same space. As a larger, faster growing and more aggressive species, over time the shamrock seems likely to win, Burton said, because as trying to control it is extremely challenging due to the cliff face location.

This means that the special Brac plant could be in danger of disappearing without ever having a name. As a result, Burton said, the DoE is launching a competition to give the rare plant a name to call its own.

The contest is open to everyone in the Cayman Islands, and schools are particularly welcome to provide suggestions.

Email suggestions to jane.haakonsson@gov.ky before the end of the year. In January 2018 a committee will pick a winner.

In 2008 a student from Montessori By The Sea was awarded the Grand Price for creating the name “Old George” for the endemic Hohenbergia Caymanensis.

See the full article in the latest edition (#33) of Flicker.

Email Jane.Haakonsson@gov.ky for a copy of Flicker #33

Access old issues of Flicker on the DoE website

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (29)

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  1. Diogenes says:

    Judgementalle Iddiotus

  2. Anonymous says:

    Planty McPlantface

  3. Right ya so says:

    How about Bracka? 🙂

  4. Beaumont Zodecloun says:

    How can the Shamrock be edging this plant out of space??? Shamrock doesn’t grow on the rock face at or above the tree line.

    I think it’s name should be unique to the island. I suggest Braccium Verbesina. Sort of a play on words, “braccium” also being a “tentacle or claw”. Perfect?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Karst Crown.

  6. Anonymous says:


  7. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva’s Bush? We would all prefer him halfway up a cliff….

  8. Anonymous says:

    How about Footsus Artus

  9. The Mohican says:

    A perfect name, last of the Caymanians

  10. Anonymous says:

    Rare Brac

  11. Anonymous says:

    Moses Trump and Juliana of All Political Colors Brac Native only Plant.

  12. anonymous says:

    Sendus Momoneyus

  13. Anonymous says:

    I think it should be called Juliana’s Asphalt so the Brackers never forget what she did for them.. at our expense.

    • Anonymous says:

      JuJu’s Asphalt for the win!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I just want to personally thank you for paying for it. I appreciate you taking the cheque to the bank and covering the cost.

    • Anonymous says:

      “At our expense” So you don’t think that Cayman Brac is a part of the Cayman islands?? You don’t think we pay duties, licensing fee’s etc the same as Grand Cayman? Why do we fight against our own? Why do you have this hatred? Alot of what Cayman is, is because of Brackers! I love all three of my islands and I am proud to go over to the Big Sister Grand Cayman and enjoy all it has to offer. Come over and enjoy the peace of the Brac.. We welcome all with open arms. Peace and Love!

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m pretty sure you’ll find Grand subsidizes the Brac on top of paving private drive ways.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yall so petty ! Hrand gets paved all the time!!!! Once in 30 years and yall huffing and puffing !

        • Bracalaka says:

          The brac is less than 1/20th of grand Cayman’s population. The amount of roads there is probably of a similar ratio. Any subsidies, if at all, are negligible and very rare.

          You’re a fat kid with a large plate of fries crying because your little sisters took two fork-fulls of fries out of your plate.

          You all are so disgusting with your anti sister islands attitude as if you expect everyone over there to just uproot their homes and families, then come over to gcm.

      • T says:

        @3:40 can you explain what brackers did for grand cayman?

    • Diogenes says:

      Yet she is reelected, if what she did was bad then vote her out it is that simple, there are about 80 people in CBE that were registered but did not vote, if someone can mobilize even half of them it could make the difference in 2021, keep in mind she only won by 40 votes


  14. Mokes-for-all says:

    How about Cliffy-Mac-Cliff-face?

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