From The Bahamas Libraries Webpage
The Lignum Vitae - The National Tree of The Bahamas
The Lignum vitae, meaning tree of life, is from the genus Guaicum (caltrop family or Zygophyllaceae) and is the National Tree of The Bahamas.
|The Lignum Vitae - The National Tree of The Bahamas|
The extremely hard and heavy self-lubricating wood is especially adapted for bearings or bushings of propeller shafts on steamships, and also serves for bearings in steel mills, for bowling balls, and pulleys.
For many years, dating back to World War II, shipments of the wood were made from The Bahamas to the United Kingdom and the United States by the old New Providence firm of Duncombe and Butler.
Apart from its industrial uses, the bark of the tree is used for medicinal purposes, and many Bahamians throughout the islands steep the bark and drink it as a tonic for creating energy as an aphrodisiac.
The Blue Marlin - National Fish of The Bahamas
The blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) is the majestic fish that is found in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with reports of the largest sizes found in the latter.
|The Blue Marlin (The National Fish of The Bahamas) on the reverse of the|
100 dollar bill. This is why the 100 dollar bill is called A BLUE MARLIN.
The blue marlin, a relative of the sailfish and swordfish, is easily recognizable for the long "sword" or spike of its upper jaw, its high and pointed dorsal fin, and pointed anal fin. It is said that the fish uses its "sword" to club other fish on which it feeds.
The marlin's back is cobalt blue and its flanks and underbelly are silvery white. There may be light-blue or lavender vertical stripes on the sides as well. A powerful and aggressive fighter, the blue marlin can run hard and long, sound or dive deep, and leap high into the air in a display of strength.
The Flamingo - National Bird of The Bahamas
The scarlet, long-legged flamingoes are found in three major nesting groups in the West Indian region, Great Inagua being one of them (the others are in Yucatan, Mexico, and Bonaire Island in the Netherlands Antilles.)
|The Flamingo (The National Bird of The Bahamas) on|
display at the Adastra Gardens.
The more than 50,000 birds inhabiting 287 square miles of Inagua wilderness are protected by wardens employed by the Society for the Protection of the Flamingo in The Bahamas through the Bahamas National Trust, a statutory body set up in 1959.
The Roseate or West Indian flamingoes (Phoenicopterus ruber) were formerly also bred in Abaco, Andros, Rum Cay, the Exuma Cays, Long Island, Ragged Island, Acklins, Mayaguana, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
However, several factors, including action by man, led to a reduction in their number. Charles B. Cory, a curator of birds in the Boston Society of Natural History, wrote at the end of the 19th century that great numbers of young birds were killed before they were able to fly, and many were carried away alive to be sold to passing vessels, on which they died from want of care. Nowadays, thanks largely to action by the government and the National Trust, the flamingo is making a comeback.
The Yellow Elder - The National Flower of the Bahamas
This flower blooms between October and December on a tree that may grow as high as twenty (20) feet.
|The Yellow Elder - The National Flower of The Bahamas|
They are about an inch across and two inches long, with red stripes lightly etched in the corolla. The little bells are held in a five (5) - point calyx, and there are nine (9) to thirteen (13) leaflets composing the odd pinnate leaf. Just before the blooms flare open, bag-like buds pop noisily if squeezed.
WHY THE YELLOW ELDER?
Selection of the yellow elder over many other flowers was made through the combined popular vote of members of all four of New Providence's garden clubs of the 1970s - the Nassau Garden Club, the Carver Garden Club, the International Garden Club, and the YWCA Garden Club.
They reasoned that other flowers grown here - such as the bougainvillea, hibiscus, and poinciana - had already been chosen as the national flowers of other countries. The yellow elder, on the other hand, was unclaimed (although it is now also the national flower of the United States Virgin Islands).