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Flora of Navassa Island Project

This database provides documentation of the vascular plants of Navassa Island, an isolated part of the United States located between Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica.  At the request of the Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs, Navassa and its surrounding waters are being explored to provide basic information about its geology, flora and fauna.  The Navassa Island Project is a multi-institutional program organized by the Center for Marine Conservation.  Additional participating organizations include The New York Botanical Garden, National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Coast Guard, and Deep Ocean Exploration and Research.

The first botanical observations from Navassa Island were made by the Swedish botanical explorer Olaf Swartz during his voyage to the West Indies in 1784-1786. He reported two species, Lithophila muscoides and Rhachicallis americana, both of which occur on the steep cliffs that surround the island.  Given that these species could be identified from a boat at the foot of the cliffs and that Swartz did not report any of the island's inland species, it is possible that he made his observations in passing, without setting foot on land.

Knowledge of Navassa's flora was greatly expanded by Erik Ekman who made extensive collections in 1928.  His material, which is located primarily in the Swedish Museum of Natural History, includes the types of Navassa's several endemic plant taxa.

In addition to historical specimens, the herbarium of The New York Botanical Garden includes the land plants collected by the Navassa Island Expedition of July and August 1998.  Marine macro-algae from the expedition have been deposited in the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution.  The Navassa Island Expedition was organized by the Center for Marine Conservation in collaboration with a large number of cooperators and donors.

Basic information from these specimens has been captured in the database, but some of the records are more complete than others. Checklists of the mosses and hepatics and vascular plants of Navassa Island are now available.

Other Navassa Island sites:
Reptiles of Navassa Island

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Searches in the Virtual Herbarium are by default word-based. The fastest searches are made by using whole words as the criteria. Wildcard characters can be used to find partial words, but search times will be significantly longer.

Use an asterisk (*) as a substitute for any number of characters in a word. (Example: "South*" in the Province/State field will return specimen records from "South Dakota," "South Carolina," etc.)

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Author abbreviations can be found using Harvard University Herbaria's Index of Botanists.

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