Category Archives: Development

The Orchid and the Hotel

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The Orchid

Recent plans for a proposed resort development at Police Bay ( see:  and has attracted negative public comments. The findings of the “Assessment of Areas of High Biodiversity for Informed Decision Making in Future Land Use Planning and Management” a government of Seychelles project financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has revealed that areas above the coastal strip of Police Bay, especially sites above 100 metres deserve to be protected. An orchid occurring in the Western Indian Ocean islands, Oeoniella polystachy (and probably not O. Aphrodite as was reported)  has been found there in an area known as Mont Corail. This orchid has been known from Seychelles but is uncommon.  It can be cultivated quite easily (and indeed has been all over the world) and Nirmal Shah of Nature Seychelles has  recommended that its propagation forms part of a conservation plan for the area.. Information on the two species of these orchids can be found below courtesy of the Mauritius Herbarium via MWF.

Oeoniella aphrodite (Balf. & S. Moore) Schltr.

Distribution: Rodrigues (Mauritius)

Flowering Period: Late October to mid-November

This is the most endangered of the remaining Rodriguean orchids. Small populations are found on rock faces and, occasionally as an epiphyte, at Grande Montagne, Mt. Cimetière and on Cascade Pigeon. Fruiting success is extremely low, as is recruitment from seed. A specimen of this taxon is recorded having grown at Conservatoire Botanic de Brest, France, but it seems no more; another formerly grew at the Trinity College Botanic Gardens, Dublin, Ireland.

Oeoniella polystachys (Thouars) Schltr.

Distribution: Mauritius, La Réunion, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles

Flowering period: Late July to late November (rarely April)

This species was considered synonymous with Oeoniella aphrodite, but its inflorescence and flower structure are different. Oeoniella polystachys is endemic to the Western Indian Ocean islands, bearing white flowers of about 2-3 cm across, blooming for about a month. It is a common species on Madagascar, occurring mostly in the east coast. In Reunion is found on the northern dry forests, where it is populations are declining.  In Mauritius, the best population is found on Ile aux Aigrettes, another large population is found at Bras D’Eau. Scatter plants exist in  other areas.

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