Tropical lillythorn (Catesbaea mel
) is listed by the U.S.
federal government as endangered.
From left to right are the whole
fruit, fruit in cross-section and cle
aned seeds. UVI-AES research
found an average of 8 seeds per
fruit and seeds germinated at rou
ghly 50% and began after 10 days.

Solanum conocarpum is believed
to be endemic to St. John, USVI.
This photo shows that seeds germ
inate uniformly and at a high rate.
The shrubs' 10 foot mature height
and abundant flowering make it
well suited to the landscape industry.

UVI-AES student employee
Victoria Henry collects tree seed
ling data in the Agroforestry
Program research greenhouse.

Agrofestry student employee,
Dexter Hypolite, prepares wild
chocolate (Guazuma ulmifolia)
fruit for an experiment that
included feeding the fruit to
sheep and measuring the seed germination rate after they passed through the animals' digestive
UVI-AES Agroforestry native tree research focuses on developing protocols for growing native trees, primarily from seeds. First we collect phenology data, such as when trees produce new leaves, flowers and fruits, for each species. When trees bear fruit, we collect them from many individual plants, bring them to the lab clean, weigh and measure them. Seeds are extracted, counted weighed and prepared for experiments.

Native Tree Species: Click here to learn more about which tree species are native to the Virgin Islands and which are introduced.

Pregerminative treatments are used to reduce germination time, increase germination rates or make groups of seeds germinate uniformly. Treatments such as soaking the seeds in water or manually scarifying the seed coats are applied to the seeds and the resulting germination rates and times are recorded. Growth rates and other data are collected as the seedlings grow. We regularly plant seedlings in demonstration plots and in reforestation projects. In these plots we obtain additional data on growth rates, time to first flowering and fruiting, pest incidences and more. For additional information on restoration, reforestation and forest enrichment projects in the Virgin Islands, click here

We give special attention to native trees that are rare, endangered or endemic to the region. In addition, our research also focuses on trees that show potential for use as ornamental plants or for use in urban forestry. These include the Virgin Islands' three native palm trees [tyre palm (Cocothrinax argentea), royal palm (Roystonia borinquena) and sabal palm (Sabal causarium)]. Results of this research are released to local nurseries and the public to help with their efficient production of native trees
Research includes, but is not limited to the following native trees

Common Name Family Genus species
Black Olive Burseraceae Bucida buceras
Burseraceae Bursera simaruba
Vahls Boxwood Buxaceae Buxus valhii
Beach Locustberry Malpighiaceae Byrsonima lucida
Tropical lily thorn Rubiaceae Catesbaea melanocarpa
Maria Clusiaceae Calophyllum brasiliense
Maubi Rhamnaceae Colubrina arbosesence
Wild Cinnamon Canellaceae Canella winterana
Jamaican Caper Capparidaceae Capparis cynophallaphora
Spanish Cedar Meliaceae Cedralla odorata
Silk Cottonwood, Ceiba Bombacaceae Ceiba pentandra
Coco Plum Rosaceae Chrysobalanus icaco
Fiddlewood Verbenaceae Citharexylum fruticosum
Tyre Palm Palmae Cocothrinax argentea
Orange Manjack Boraginaceae Cordia rickseckeri
Red Manjack Boraginaceae Cordia nitida
Maidenberry Celastraceae Crossapetalum rhacoma
Lignum Vitae Zygophyllaceae Guaiacum officinale
Wild Chocolate Strercullaceae Guazuma ulmifolia
Sandbox Euphorbiaceae Hura crepitans
Locust, Stinking Toe Leguminosae Hymenaea courbaril
Ironwood Rhamnaceae Krugiodendron ferrum
Mamee Apple Guttiferae Mamae americana
Bay Leaf Myrtaceae Pimenta racemosa
White Frangipani Apocynaceae Plumeria alba
Royal Palm Palmae Roystonia borinquena
Sabal Palm Palmae Sabal causarium
Marron Bacoba SOLANCEAE Solanum conocarpum
Yellow Prickle Rutaceae Zanthoxylum thomasianum