If I had to describe Dominica’s flora with one word, I think I would choose “giant.” Or possibly “huge.”
“Lush” is a good word but I’m not sure it can convey the kind of extreme lushness I am talking about. This isn’t North American lush, this is rainforest, tons of water and heat, things just grow and never stop growing kind of lush. This is plants covering every surface that isn’t moving lush.
The reason I chose “giant” is because not only is it extremely lush, but many of the plants are super-sized. We flew into Dominica about a week ago, arriving on the east coast, and were quickly introduced to the island’s lushness and hugeness by a rapid-fire drive through the interior to the west side. The bamboo we saw along the way were the biggest bamboo I have ever seen in my life. By far! Ferns of all types and sizes, many of which I can not identify completely covered the roadside cliffs. Tree-sized ferns are so commonplace here I’m already feeling a sense of normalcy about seeing them.
Along the way, I remarked to the driver that there was so much of interest growing, I couldn’t tell where cultivation ended and wildness began. The way he put it, just about everything is wild. Here it seems to be less about coaxing things to grow, and more about taming the growth you don’t want.
Imagine the weeding!
Here I am holding up a thick bamboo stalk I found laying on the side of a path. This is not the thickest bamboo I saw. Not by a long shot.
Davin found this gigantic seedpod lying underneath a tree. I’m sorry I can’t identify the tree, but can you believe the size of that pod?
Check out the size of this tree fern frond in comparison to my size. And no, I’m not wearing a cowboy hat, it’s just the way the hat is cocked in the photo. Sadly, I lost my second best hat two days ago and have been reduced to wearing the third best backup.
This is Davin holding a bunch of bananas. They are surprisingly heavy. I have a newfound respect for banana growers. HARD WORK.
Depending on where you are, you can find giant tillandsia filling many of the trees here. You will also find several that have fallen to the ground. Every time I see one I just can’t believe it. There they are, these plants I love, just laying there on the ground like it’s no big deal.
Here’s a photo of me taking a Polaroid of the same tillandsia for scale. HUGE!
And holding a smaller plant that had also fallen to the ground.
This massive thing is the spent flower stalk. With that kind of weight, it’s no wonder the thing fell out of the tree!
And finally, a perfect tillandsia log, all ready to go. It makes me laugh to imagine the work we put into achieving this effect at home (think floral wires and constant spritzing) when you can just pick one up off the ground here.