St Helena’s marvellous endemic species

St Helena is unique in so many different ways, but one of our key claims to fame is being home to over 500 endemic species of flora, fauna, fish and invertebrate, which combine to make up one third of all the British Overseas Territories’ endemic species.

St Helena’s endemic Flora

One of the seven wonders of St Helena and the highest point at 823 meters above sea level, Diana’s Peak is enjoyed by many for the views and luscious vegetation. It’s the perfect spot to marvel at much of the island’s endemic flora.

The Island’s endemic plants can also be found scattered along trail routes including the Post Box Walks, and at the Millennium Forest and Peak Dale.

St Helena has 30 endemic flowering plants, grass, ferns and hybrid. They are:

Bastard Gumwood, Commidendrum rotundifolium

Babies toes, Hydrodea cryptantha

St Helena black cabbageBlack Cabbage, Melandendron integrifolium (pictured)

Bone Seed, Osteospermum sanctaehelenae

Boxwood, Mellissia begoniifolia

Diana’s Peak Grass, Carex dianae

Dogwood, Nesohedyotis arborea

Dwarf Jellico, Sium burchellii

False Gumwood, Commidendrum spurium

Gumwood, Commidendrum robustum

He Cabbage Tree, Pladaroxylon leucadendron

Hen and Chick Fern, Asplenium compressum

Jellico, Sium bractaetum

Large Bellflower, Wahlenbergia linifolia

Lays Back Fern, Pteris paleacea

Mossy Fern, Elaphoglossum bifurcatum

Old Father Live Forever, Pelargonium cotyledonis

Rebony, Redwood and Ebony hybrid, Trochetiopsis x benjamin

Redwood, Trochetiopsis erythroxylon

Rosemary, Phylica polifolia

Salad Plant, Hypertelis acida

Scrubwood, Commidendrum rugosum

She Cabbage, Lachanodes arborea

Small Bellflower, Wahlenbergia angustifolia

St Helena ebonySt Helena Ebony, Trochetiopsis ebenus (pictured)

St Helena Lobelia, Trimeris scaevolifolia

St Helena Plantain, Plantago robusta

St Helena Tea, Frankenia portulacifolia

Tree Fern, Dicksonia arborescens

Whitewood, Petrobium arboretum

The St Helena Olive, Nesiota elliptica, became extinct in 2003.


St Helena’s endemic Fauna

St Helena’s endemic bird, the Wirebird Charadrius sanctaehelenae, is a national treasure. It sits on the Island’s badge of arms, which features on both the Island’s flag and heraldic Coat of Arms used by the St Helena Government. The 2017 census recorded 572 adults and chicks.

Recommended viewing sites are Deadwood Plain, Longwood Golf Course, Horse Pasture and Thompson’s Wood’s Man and Horse.

St Helena wirebird

Wirebird, Charadrius sanctaehelenae

St Helena’s endemic Fish

For marine enthusiasts, spotting one of the ten endemic fish of St Helena is a treat!  If you are a diver, be sure to keep an eye out for:

Bastard Cavalley Pilot, also known as St Helena Gregory, Stegastes sanctaehelenae

Bastard FivefingerBastard Fivefinger, also known as St Helena Damselfish, Chromis sanctaehelenae (pictured)

Deepwater Greenfish, also known as St Helena Sea Perch, Holanthias fronticinctus

Deepwater Gurnard, also known as Melliss’s Scorpionfish, Scorpaena mellissii

Deepwater Jack, also known as St Helena Deepwater Scorpionfish, Pontinus nigropunctatus

St Helena GreenfishGreenfish, also known as St Helena Wrasse, Thalassoma sanctaehelenae (pictured)

Silver Eel, also known as Melliss’s Conger, Ariosoma mellissii

Skulpin, also known as St Helena Mora, Physiculus helenaenis

Springer’s Blenny, Scartella springeri

St Helena Dragonet, Callionymus sanctaehelenae

 

St Helena’s endemic Invertebrates

St Helena is home to 455 endemic invertebrates and approximately 210 of these inhabit the peaks (Diana’s Peak, Cuckold’s Point and Mount Actaeon).

Other locations include Peak Dale and Prosperous Bay Plain.

Some of the endemic invertebrates found in these areas are:

St Helena Blushing SnailBlushing Snail, Succinea sanctaehelenae (pictured)

St Helena Spurred Grass Hopper, Tinaria calarata

Drone Fly, Eristalis tenax

Loveridge’s hoverfly, Sphaerophoria beattei

Vulturine Leafhopper, Nehela vulturina

Cabbage Tree Sedge Moth, Glyphipteryx semilunaris

Jellico flea beetle, Longitarsus mellissi

Golden Leafhopper, Sanctahelenia sanctaehelenae

Janish’s Fungus Weevil, Homoeodera janischi

Dales’ Fungus Weevil, Homoeodera compositarium

Spiky yellow woodlouseSpiky Yellow Woodlouse, Pseudolaureola atlantica (pictured)

 

Of all the endemics, how many can you tick off?

  • Reg Masoni
    Posted at 18:48h, 17 August

    I have VERY HAPPY MEMORIES OF SAILING TO AND VISITING St Helena aboard RMS St Helena

  • John Doble
    Posted at 08:31h, 18 August

    I am amazed at the huge variety of both flora and fauna!

    You are doing a superb job of educating us…
    Thanks,much appreciated.

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