Three Flowers

Flowers brighten our lives and decorate gardens and landscapes. On a tropical island, there are countless beautiful varieties and something is always in bloom. Each flower also has a story, and here are three of them.

Yellow Sage, the national flower of Sint Maarten.

Yellow Sage is the national flower of the country of Sint Maarten. Also known as Orange-yellow Sage, it is a variety of the species known as West Indian Sage. Other varieties of West Indian Sage flower in a variety of colors. The plant can grow into a large bush—two meters tall and just as wide. Native here, it has also been brought all over the world. It is used in plant medicine, as a natural fence and to control erosion with its extensive roots.

The flowers of the Flamboyant tree.

The Flamboyant tree is known for its beautiful flowers. Each summer, these trees explode into brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. Though native to Madagascar, it has been popular in the Caribbean for hundreds of years. On St. Martin, this tree has a special connection to emancipation. When emancipation in Dutch colonies took place on July 1, 1863 the Flamboyant was in full bloom, and freed St. Martiners carried branches of its beautiful flowers as they celebrated.

A Painted Lady butterfly feeds from Coralita flowers.

Today, one of the most commonly seen flowers on the island is the bright pink blossom of the Coralita vine. This non-native vine has covered many parts of the island, especially areas that were once used for livestock but are no longer managed. Although the flowers are beautiful and their nectar is well-loved by insects of all kinds, this vine tends to cover and smother any plants in its path. It also has potato-like tubers deep under the ground so it quickly regrows after being cleared. Of all St. Martin’s flowers, it is one of the most beautiful and problematic.

What is your favorite local flower? Tell us by writing in to The Daily Herald or [email protected].

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