Castaway Plants

No, I don't mean the plants people get rid off or set aside to use for compost or those used in the set of one of the reality TV shows or a Tom Hanks movie.  

These plants grow wild on a thousand acre island in the Bahamas.

View from the island's observation deck.The island, once visited by pirates and then (much) later on by drug smugglers, is now overrun by a rodent named Mickey and his friends.  The "official" story has cleaned up the island's nefarious history and has changed it to a story of three explorers and their families setting sail for the Bahamas in the 1920's and deciding to settle down on the island.

You can choose to read either the pirate/drug version or the sanitized Disney explorer version.  Heck, just go ahead and read both.  Whatever you choose to do . . . 

. . . Welcome to Disney's Castaway Cay!!!  (pronounced "key")

The cruise ship Disney Magic stopped here for 8 hours. While my wife and kids stayed on the beach, I decided to bike around the island for 2 hours to inspect the local flora.

My father-in-law accompanied me up to the observation deck

A lot of the plants caught my eye.  Since they are just growing wild on this uninhabited part of the island they are unfortunately without ID.  Still I hope you enjoy going through the pictures.

Beautiful palms with fan shaped leaves grow abundantly on the island. They don't grow very tall. The tallest I've seen is only about 6-7 feet tall.

This was a surprise. I never expected to see an orchid on the island especially a flowering one.

Tillandsia utriculata growing terrestrially. I read somewhere that in Florida a few populations of T. utriculata grow terrstrially but here almost all of them are thriving on the ground.

A huge T. utriculata beginning to bloom. The inflorescence can reach several meters high.

Flower or fruit? Flower but I initially thought it was a fruit.

A shrub with an interesting red flower. A nice contrast with the mostly green surroundings.

Yellow cottonballs.  I think these may be Cow bush, (L. leucocephala).

Another wild orchid bloom. This one was really beautiful.

Tillandsia fasciculata again growing terrestrially.

Even orchids grow terrestrially on this island.


Several purple flowers.  

A nice yellow flower. Finally a break from nice purple flowers.

A cycad species. Looks like a Cycas but it is not known to be endemic outside of Asia and Southern Africa. Well it could be a Dioon, a Zamia or  a Ceratozamia or a Cycas that was planted on the island.

 Yucca aloifolia.

A kind of succulent.

An interesting looking palm. 

Allamanda sp?

An immature Tillandsia utriculata with a small clump of Tillandsia recurvata growing under it.

This was definitely an unexpected highlight in this port of call.  Seeing different species of Tillandsias in habitat. I wish I had more time to explore the island and discover more plants.  However, it was nearing noon (a.k.a. lunch) and I still had to bike back.  You know me, if there is one passion that can at least equal my love for plants, it would be my love for food.

Castaway Cay proved to be the best of both worlds.  Happy me!




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