The Samaan Grove Wetland System

Wetlands Inhabitants
by Kevin Kenny - Click images to enlarge

Bog Plants 2

Black taro and our white night blooming waterlily
Black taro, Colocasia sp. Many people in Trinidad and Tobago do not realize that this plant loves wet soil and will thrive at the edges of ponds and water courses. It was originally imported from Hawaii and has become a very popular local horticultural plant.
The local green variety of Xanthosoma is used to make a delicious soup called "cal la loo". Green taro (the dasheen plant) existed naturally in the drains that ran through the estate and did not take long to establish itself along the edges of some of the ponds.
We tried to transplant some in SWW#6 but they died when the area was flooded. Both black and green varieties like wet soil but do not seem to do well if their roots are continuously covered with water. They grow in a vide variety of soil conditions.  

. Local green taro in SWW#6 did not survive.

Iris, Neomarica longifolia and Iris sp. The local yellow or walking iris (Neomarica longifolia) is not a natural water iris but will grow in moist soil. We planted over 100 of these in various places and soil conditions, but they did not do very well. To solve this problem we imported a mix of water Iris seeds from the US which were given to Peter Moll to propagate. Although half of them have since sprouted we have not yet transplanted them.

Irises' exotic flowers have an obvious appeal and their roots are useful as filtering agents, which is why we have targeted them. Louisiana Iris can be planted along the edge of ponds or directly in shallow water. We have great hopes for these plants and feel that, once acclimatized, they will compete with the Nariva red night blooming waterlily as one of the signature plants in the wetland.  


Canna, Canna glauca. This plant likes wet soil and the common yellow variety can be found growing in drains and ditches of both islands in water depths of up to 12 centimeters (5 inches). We were able to get a red hybrid, below, which seems to like similar conditions.

The yellow variety grows well at the edges of all the lakes but does not spread into the deeper water. It grows in different parts of the estate in very dry soil but we suspect that the roots have grown down to the water table.  

Red hybrid v | Local yellow Canna >



Initial planting in November 2004
Papyrus, Cyperus papyrus. Giant Papyrus, which is not native to the islands, was found growing at the Caroni Swamp in Trinidad, where we obtained a number of rhizomes. They were first planted at Petit Trou Pond but did not do very well. We transplanted them into the first wetland SWW#5 where they thrive.

Six months later they had grown into robust plants. Today, some two years later, we have to cut them back to ensure they do not dominate the entire wetland area.   
This plant grows to 3 metres (9 feet) in height. It will also grow in conditions varying from direct sun to partial shade. Cut leaves that were allowed to float free have since formed plants in other parts of the wetland. 

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