Aruba is a small island in the southern Caribbean known for its pristine beaches and turquoise waters. However, the island is also home to a diverse array of flora, including two iconic trees that have come to symbolize the island's natural beauty: the Divi Divi tree and the Bushi Cactus. In this essay, we will explore these two unique and fascinating trees and discuss their significance to the island and its people.
The Divi Divi Tree
The Divi Divi tree (Casia Divi Divi) is a species of Casuarina tree that is native to Aruba and is perhaps the most recognizable symbol of the island. This small, gnarled tree is known for its distinctive shape, which is bent and twisted due to the constant trade winds that blow across the island. As a result, the Divi Divi tree always points towards the west, no matter where it is located on the island.
The tree is highly adapted to the harsh environment of Aruba, with a deep root system that allows it to access water deep beneath the ground and a dense canopy that provides shade and protects the tree from the strong winds. The Divi Divi tree is also highly resistant to drought and salt spray, making it an important part of the island's ecosystem.
The Divi Divi tree has played an important role in the culture and history of Aruba, as well. The tree's wood has been used by indigenous people for centuries to build houses, furniture, and boats. Today, the Divi Divi tree is a popular tourist attraction and is often featured in photographs and postcards of the island.
The Bushi Cactus (Cephalocereus senilis) is another unique and fascinating tree that is native to Aruba. This cactus is also known as the "old man cactus" due to its long, shaggy hair-like spines that resemble a beard. The Bushi Cactus is an unusual and striking sight, with its bright green stem and long, flowing spines.
The Bushi Cactus is a slow-growing plant, taking several decades to reach maturity, but once it does, it can reach heights of up to 20 feet. The cactus is also highly adapted to the dry, arid conditions of Aruba, with a deep root system that allows it to access water deep beneath the surface of the ground.
The Bushi Cactus is an important part of the island's ecosystem, providing habitat for a variety of bird and insect species. The cactus is also a source of food for many animals, including the island's indigenous goats.
The Divi Divi tree and the Bushi Cactus are two of the most iconic and recognizable trees on the island of Aruba. These unique trees are symbols of the island's natural beauty and provide important ecological services, including providing habitat for wildlife and protecting the island from the constant trade winds.
In conclusion, the Divi Divi tree and the Bushi Cactus are important parts of the cultural and natural heritage of Aruba, and they are a testament to the island's rich biodiversity and resilience in the face of harsh environmental conditions. These trees continue to captivate visitors and residents alike, serving as a reminder of the beauty and diversity of the island's natural landscape.
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