Rodrigues Rare Plants 
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered


Invasive alien woody weeds dominate all forest areas on Rodrigues and, with the exception of intensively restored areas in the nature reserves, no contiguous areas of native forest exist.

Elements of the original biodiversity remain in some forest fragments, but without restoration work these will degrade into thickets of entirely introduced vegetation of the type that covers much of the island.

 Rodrigues, with its highly endangered flora, has had an active rare plant conservation project for over two decades, although initially this work was modest. In collaboration with the Forestry Service, a larger, improved nursery was erected in 1996 at Solitude to produce native plants for the restoration of both Grande Montagne and Anse Quitor Nature Reserves, and more recently Ile Cocos and Ile aux Sables. At Solitude, plants are also produced for private restoration projects, such as the François Leguat Giant Tortoise and Cave Reserve.

Solitude Nursery

In addition, the nursery is used to train local villagers in horticultural techniques to improve native plant production in backyard and village nurseries. Propagation trials of rare Rodriguan endemic species are conducted at Solitude.

 Plant conservationists have spent a great deal of effort in recent years in locating, propagating and reintroducing Rodrigues’ rarest plant species into protected areas. In some cases this has resulted in bringing individual species back from the brink of extinction.

Recently, we have succeeded in propagating two very rare endemic species through cuttings. The endemic Gouania leguatii, which has only one population remaining in the wild, and the bois papaye Badula balfouriana, with only eight remaining individuals in the wild, are both being propagated in the MWF Solitude Nursery. Since 2009, individuals of both species have been reintroduced to Grande Montagne Nature Reserve, and one individual of each species is still surviving.The recovery work is not yet complete since the propagation method is only now being mastered. As the plants grow, more individuals will need to be planted and monitored in reintroduction sites throughout Rodrigues.

Badula balfouriana

Gouania leguatii


>>> Next article