Welcome to Endemic plants of Trinidad and Tobago
Vascular plant species endemic to Trinidad and Tobago and their conservation status.
The flora of Trinidad and Tobago, a 5,126 km2 Caribbean twin island nation, is estimated to include 2,500 vascular plant species. Both islands lie on the South American Continental Shelf. Tobago was separated from the South American continent c. 13,000 years ago, and Trinidad possibly only 1,500 years ago.
In Trinidad and Tobago, 3% of all vascular plant species are endemic. The length of time Trinidad and Tobago have been separated from the mainland is too short for island endemism to have developed to the same extent as on an oceanic island such as Jamaica (MacArthur, 1972).
Using current IUCN criteria, 58% of the 59 endemic species were categorized as Endangered or Critically Endangered. These must be considered as priority species for conservation, and further research of their population status is urgently needed. The 22 species not collected for several decades or known only from type collections are priority species for assessment of distribution and population status, and urgently need to be relocated in their respective locations. In addition, all species should be surveyed for presence in protected areas and should be inventoried in any environmental impact assessments.