People in Seychelles are being encouraged to nurture more endemic plants in their homes to ensure the continued survival of these species found only on the main island of Mahe, said a top official.
The manager of the National Biodiversity Centre, Nathachia Einfeldt, revealed to SNA interesting details about the centre, which for many years has been operating outside of the public eye.
The centre, located in the western district of Grand Anse Mahe, has been open to the public since 2014. Aside from students and researchers, not many people visit it compared to the much more popular Botanical Gardens in the capital, Victoria.
“We have a nursery with a large number of endemic plants, which are on sale to the public and we would like to encourage more people to come by to buy them and grow them around their homes,” she explained.
The centre has a nursery with many endemic plants. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
The centre has around 115 plants found among which 30 are endemic and 80 indigenous to Seychelles. It is described as a unique forest to preserve the endangered species of the fragile ecosystems of the archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
The 17-hectare centre is managed by the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority (SPGA) and acts as an off-site conservation area for the rare and endemic species of plants that are only found within the archipelago.
The centre is open to locals free of charge, while visitors will have to pay an entrance fee of SCR150 ($11.45).
“The main objective of this centre is to conserve and showcase the rare and endangered plants found in Seychelles, where visitors and locals can see them all in one place,” said Einfeldt.
She explained that many of these rare plants are found in areas that are difficult for people to get to, and so bringing them to the centre allows more people to see them.
Another very important aspect of the centre, is to have a specimen of each of these plants present so that in case they are destroyed, they can then be replanted.
The 17-hectare centre is managed by the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority (SPGA)(Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
Einfeldt explained that they want the plant to be seen all over the islands, which is why they have a nursery where people can buy these plants.
She said one of the reasons why people are not buying these plants is because “these plants are not necessarily the most beautiful, but they are very important to our country, but people tend to buy plants because of the beautiful flowers and colours, which is why these rare plants are often left behind.”
Aside from the sale of rare plants, people who visit the centre will be able to get a full guided tour of the premises and learn about the various plants found in the garden, which includes a palm forest, a bee yard and a medicinal garden, among others.
When it opened in 1998, the concept was to have so many more services and development but for varying reasons, they did not materialise. However, in the last few years, plans have begun to once more take shape, as some of the original concepts are being revived, to make the centre a more attractive area and hub for plant lovers everywhere.
“We will be opening our cafeteria very soon in which we will sell products from the garden itself, while we also plan to have an orchid conservatory, which will showcase the many native orchids found in Seychelles,” said Einfeldt.
She added that “We are also working on building a coffee and aromatic plantation with a distillery, through a partnership with the private sector.”