Ironwood Forest

Ironwood Forest, SE of George Town, Grand Cayman, aerial photo taken by Lois Blumenthal, June, 2007.
The University College of the Cayman Islands is in the middle at the right. The hall has a white roof.

The Ironwood Forest, Grand Cayman, is a unique, self-sustaining ancient growth forest, anchored on a ridge of pinnacled Cayman Formation – Dolostone rock. It is SE of George Town, on a fresh water lens, in a high rainfall area and has an amazing diversity of Cayman indigenous plants, including endemics and single-neighbor endemics. Many plants are Endangered and Critically Endangered, such as a giant Bromeliad, Old George – Hohenbergia caymanensis and the Grand Cayman Ghost OrchidDendrophylax fawcettii.

Geology GC map Mar28-06

 

 

 

 

Ironwood Forest and Hell are the only areas of Cayman Formation rock on Grand Cayman’s western peninsula:
Geological map of Grand Cayman, Dr. Brian Jones 1994.

Chionanthus lvs Nov13-06_848 AS

 

Ironwood – Chionanthus caymanensis, Family: OLEACEAE, Cayman Islands Endangered endemic tree, culturally significant – Ironwood was used for the foundation posts for houses. The wood is extremely strong and termite resistant. The leaves grow in exactly OPPOSITE pairs. It is a predominant tree of the Ironwood Forest.

 

 

Maybe it will take an orchid to save a forest.

Click here for maps and pictures from 2002 Ironwood Forest, Grand Cayman

Ironwood Forest PIX Ann Stafford Sept.29, 2006. SE of George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

The Ironwood Forest is a historically important living museum, where many endangered plants of cultural significance grow. There are at least 20 Critically Endangered, 18 Endangered, 14 Vulnerable, 3 Near Threatened and 8 Data deficient.

IRONWOOD Forest PIX Ann Stafford Jan.24, 2007. SE George Town, Grand Cayman.Culturally significant and Endangered plants.

Some of the species found in the Ironwood Forest, a large part of which is on crown land, directly behind the University College of the Cayman Islands (formerly the Community College of the Cayman Islands). The forest is now inaccessible because the the College’s security system.

Some of the Ironwood Forest species, Grand Cayman, Ann Stafford March 23, 2007.

There are wetlands as well as forest, which provide moisture for the forest plants, such as the giant Bromeliad, Old George – Hohenbergia caymanensis

Old George – Hohenbergia caymanensis, a Critically Endangered giant Bromeliad that only grows in the wild SE of George Town, Grand Cayman.

Click here for maps and pictures of Grand Cayman’s Ironwood Forest

Ironwood Forest aerial photo: Lois Blumenthal, Jan. 2008, SE of George Town, Grand Cayman. University College of the Cayman Islands is in the middle on the left.

Cayman Islands Ghost Orchid – Dendrophylax fawcettii, Critically Endangered Grand Cayman endemic, grows in the Ironwood Forest, SE of George Town. Photo: Ann Stafford, April 3, 2008

Ghost Orchid – Dendrophylax fawcettii growing on Wild Fig tree – Ficus aurea.
Photo: Ann Stafford April 20, 2003.

 

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