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