Magnificent 300 year Old Ceiba Tree in Vieques

Silk Cotton Tree

300 year old Ceiba Tree in Vieques Island



There are two Ceiba trees in this slideshow. The bigger one covered with new leaves and the smaller one covered with pods. Ceiba trees ( also known as 'silk cotton' trees or kapok trees) go into seed every 2 to ten years or so. The fluff in the pod has been used for pillows, mattresses and life jackets. Other, newer materials have replaced their use. The 'fluff' is very soft and silky feeling.

The bigger Ceiba tree is over 300 years old and is on the right side of the road at the curve ( after the airport) just before getting to the 2 mile breakwater/pier built by the Navy. The smaller tree is located behind the post office, kiddie corner to 'Sombrero Viejo' bar in Isabel II


Another interesting, but POISONOUS, tree that is rare in Vieques:

Manchineel apple

Antigua Flora: Manchioneel
Family: Euphorbiacea - Hippomane mancinella
This large poisonous tree grows uncommonly behind beaches.  The fruit resembles a small green apple; it is poisonous, so don’t sample it!

The Caribs took the white sap of a broken twig and spread it on their arrowheads as poison.

A website about the flora and fauna of Antigua shows many photos of trees common in Vieques, although the common name may be different.

Get medical attention right away if you get the sap on you.

Manchineel. manchioneel poison apple tree

The big danger is that all parts of the tree can cause problems, even burning the leaves and inhaling the sap filled smoke causes blistering of the skin or even getting the smoke in the eyes can cause blindness.

The trees are found near beaches in most if not all of the Caribbean islands and South America.

The Manchineel is useful in that it provides a natural windbreak and it's roots help to stop beach erosion by stabilizing the surrounding land.

One more tip, if you're on the beach and it rains do not take shelter under Manchineel trees as the water dripping from the leaves can cause blistering of the skin.

dry manchineel seeds