Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Gardens of Aruba: A Look Beyond - Southern Dutch Caribbean Birds and Blooms

Gardens of Aruba

Welcome to the gardens on the island of Aruba! Aruba is located in the southern Caribbean Sea about 1,600 kilometers (990 mi) west of the Lesser Antilles and 29 kilometers (18 mi) north of the coast of Venezuela. One of the islands comprising the Netherlands Antilles or "Dutch Caribbean", Aruba measures just 32 kilometers (20 mi) long from its northwestern to its southeastern points and 10 kilometers (6 mi) wide.  Aruba's semi-arid tropical climate makes the island home to an interesting variety of flora and fauna.
Aerial Roots on Palm
I am always on the lookout for the unusual to capture with my lens.  Very common in the Caribbean are trees with these aerial roots but not on Long Island where I come from. I am always intrigued when I see them.
Aruba Blackbird in Coconut Tree
Local wildlife is camera friendly near the resorts and easier to capture with the lens. Here a local blackbird watches over me from a coconut tree. He actually stayed there long enough for me to zoom in on him.
Aloe and Snake Plant
Aloe and Snake plant are very common on this semi-arid island and thrive here...
Barrel Cacti
as well as various species of cacti.
Coccoloba uvifera (Sea Grapes) Growing on Beach in Aruba
I learned that these are Sea Grapes.  The small green fruit native to the Caribbean grow in bunches and resemble grapes as we know them. In late summer as the grapes ripen they become tinged with a red or purple hue and can be quite sweet.  Sea Grapes can be eaten raw (when ripe), made into jams or jellies, or fermented into sea grape wine. 
Stenocereus griseus (Candle Cactus)
Stenocereus griseus or Candle Cactus can be found almost everywhere on the island and are abundant in the outback.  It is also known as the Mexican organ pipedagger cactuspitaya, and pitayo de mayo.  There are three cacti species known to dominate the landscape of Aruba: Stenocereus griseusPilosocereus lanuginosus and Cereus repandus.
Aruba Bloom
I am still trying to learn all the names of the flora in Aruba.  These yellow blooms were way up high on one of the local trees and somewhat resemble a hibiscus.
Pink Oleander (Nerium oleander)
These beautiful Pink Oleander are found near the resorts.  Even though parts of the plant are known to be poisonous, Oleander do have a multitude of medicinal qualities. The leaves have been used for the treatment of heart disease, as an antibacterial, a diuretic, and against snake-bite. The roots have been used externally in traditional medicine for treating cancer, ulcers and leprosy.
Aruba Dove
Here is an Aruba Dove who is not at all camera shy!

(Caesalpinia coriaria) Divi Divi or Watapana Tree
Aruba is known for its Divi Divi trees which grow in the direction of the one way winds on the island.
Banana Tree
Not yet ripe but tempting are the bananas that are readily growing on the island.
Heliconia (Lobster Claw Plant)
Heliconia or "Lobster Claw" plant can be seen planted by the resorts and has a tropical flare. 
Male Iguana
The island is home to many iguana such as the male shown here. I recently learned that the males display spikes on their back, which the females lack.
Monarch Butterfly on Spider Lily Flower
With the lack of Monarchs at home the view of Monarchs on the island of Aruba was a delightful sight. This one is enjoying the sweet nectar of Spider Lily, which can be seen throughout the resorts.
Yucca Plant
Yucca is a more indigenous drought tolerant plant of Aruba.
 Bananaquit (Coereba flaveolaAruba Sugarbird
The Bananaquit is a playful nectar-loving bird that is very common to Aruba. The bird can become very tame around people and are known as sugar birds, which stems from the fact that they have been known to enjoy sugar in the form of sugar packet and jellies. These two birds were within about three feet of where I was sitting.
Ixora coccinea (Jungle Geranium)
Here is Ixora. The elongated looking spindles eventually open up into a large cluster of blooms resembling a geranium.
French Cotton or Giant Milkweed (Calotropis procera) 
Giant Milkweed is one of the largest of the Monarch Milkweeds, growing as a tree to a height of about ten feet.  It was brought to Aruba and has become naturalized on the island.  The Monarchs and Sugarbirds love it...
Sugarbird on Milkweed
as you can see here!
Croton Plant
Croton, which is normally grown as a houseplant in the states thrives outside here on the island of Aruba.
Rufous Hummingbird  in Flight (Aruba)
On an early morning stroll I visited this "hummingbird tree". Vibrant orange blooms attract numerous hummingbirds each morning before the heat of the day.  As you may know, hummingbirds are very quick to move about so I had to be extra quick with the lens.  I was able to get several captures and got this one while the bird was in mid flight!
Aruba Flora and Fauna

I hope you enjoyed the flora and fauna from the island of Aruba.

Linking with more blooms at Today's Flowers and Floral Fridays.

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2015. All rights reserved


  1. What an abundance of beautify and fascinating creatures too!

  2. What a glorious visit you had and my that Divi Divi is spectacular as is the Giant Milkweed with monarchs...who knew! Even hummers...definitely you were in paradise.

    1. I was amazed to see giant milkweed, hummingbirds and Monarchs all in one walk Donna! Aruba is definitely a wonderful place for a stroll with the camera...always an experience. Thank you for dropping by. Have a great week!

  3. Wow, what a wonderful tour of flowers! It's always a bit more amazing when you see things that would never grow at home.

    1. So true Betty...there is always that fascination! Thanks for stopping by and visiting!

  4. I enjoyed your visit to Aruba, a place I have yet to visit. Island life appeals to me, yet I would greatly miss our seasons. I still find visiting islands a refreshing change of pace.

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the views Donna. It is always nice to get away and see a change of scenery, but I do have to agree that I love the seasons as well and will be staying on this island....Long Island!

  5. So tropical... Lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  6. What a great post. I feel as though I have been on a trip to an exotic land.
    Thanks for taking part in Floral Friday photos!

    1. Thank you for hosting Nick. I am glad you enjoyed the virtual trip!

  7. I had no idea Aruba was so arid. I guess I always think islands are going to look like Hawaii. You found some great shots there. Love the giant milkweed.

    1. Aruba appears very tropical around the resorts but when you get out into the outback you see lots of aloe, cacti and drought tolerant trees. There is a rainy season there, but for the most part it is an arid island. I love the diversity!


Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!