This time last week I was sitting outside eating my lunch of prawn salad and freshly picked avocado, it was a delicious 28°C (82F°), I was in Paradise.
That is one of the pleasures of travelling to different countries. Just recently I was lucky enough to spend a short time on the magical island of Nevis.
Nevis, is a very unspoilt Island, which was a privilege to visit.
While there I found some very interesting herbs, some I knew and grow in the UK, for example the Plectranthus amboinicus.
Plectranthus amboinicus , Broad leaf thyme, Cuban Oregano, Basil, are many of the common names used to identify this culinary and medicinal herb.
and some like the Blighia sapida I have never seen before.
Blighia sapida, the Akee tree, Egg Yolk, was brought to the Caribbean in the 18th Century. The aril is the only edible part and only when the plant has turned red and split open, when unripe or overripe it is poisonous!!!
Mangifera indica, the Mango. The fruit is well known, the leaves produce a yellow dye and the bark of the tree provides a tannin
Gardenia taitensis , Tiare Flower, used medicinally to treat fevers and coughs. The flowers are used in perfumery
Annona muricata, Soursop, The fruit is often served as a cream or as soursop ice-cream.
Tamarindus indica, Tamarind, the fruit is used as a seasoning for fish and meat dishes, it is also added to curries. It is one of the main ingredients in Angostura Bitters, it is also an ingredient in Worcester Sauce. Medicinally used as a mild laxative.
Sterculia foetida, Java-Olive, Skunk tree, Poon tree. The flowers smell awful hence its botanical name. The seeds are high in oil, some say they can be eaten raw, but others say they should be roasted first; so please double check before eating!!
The last time I saw Couroupita guianensis, was in the botanical garden in Penang, where they have a spectacular example which made an indelible impression. So I was fascinated and pleased to find a smaller specimen of this rare tree on the island.
Couroupita guianensis, The flowers of Cannonball Tree have a wonderful smell and can be used to scent perfumes and cosmetics. The hard shells of the fruit are sometimes used as containers.
So if you are lucky enough to be visiting the Caribbean look out for these stunning plants for ‘Nature is amazing’.