Flora of Navassa Island Project
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.
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