Flowers of Mauritius & the Seychelles
Speaker: Roger Young
Date: 24th February
Roger introduced himself as an Assistant Parks Officer with Portsmouth City Council and the Horticultural Consultant on Flora for Portsmouth Crematorium. He also told us that in May 2008 he had a stroke but thankfully after an operation and three months in Hospital has made a complete recovery and is back at work.
His trip to these exotic islands in the Indian Ocean came about because his son had chosen to get married in Mauritius. Roger was very pleased to go as his father, who had been in the Navy, had told him that the Seychelles were the most beautiful islands he had ever seen.
Rogers’s series of slides detailed the beautiful flowers and palm trees of Mauritius, where he stayed first, and then several islands of the Seychelles, including Mahe, with its capital of Victoria, La Digue, Prasline Island and Rat (Round?) Island; travelling by plane and catamaran.
We saw the sugar plantations, single and double flowered bougainvillea, frangipani and many different varieties of Palms. Many plants we can only grow indoors featured largely in the flower beds in the grounds of the hotels set in lawns made of a dwarf bamboo. Canna Lilies abound. We also saw slides of a pomegranate bush and the unusual Traveller’s Tree whose leaves hold enough water for the thirsty pilgrim to slake his thirst. A banana plantation, bread fruit trees and the spectacular Flame of the Forest tree also featured.
Giant tortoises and the largest seed in the world from the Coco-de-Mer were beautifully illustrated, and we experienced Roger’s tour of a coconut milk extraction plant. The Duke of Edinburgh planted a Coco-de-Mer tree in 1956. Roger showed us slides taken in a Botanic Garden and his tour of a tea plantation on La Digue Island. His guide carried a long stick to knock away enormous spiders webs of 9” long legged spiders on the way. We also saw the grove of trees that was planted in Venn’s Town to commemorate the abolition of slavery in 1834 and the oldest tree on the Island.
We were glad to see Roger back to full health and experience his delightfully illustrated talk about the colourful flora on these exotic Islands in the Indian Ocean.