Trees around Camana Bay not only provide shade but they have become an attraction to passersby, who are on their way to socialize, shop and work.
In fact, the 600-acre new-urban town is abundant with some of the most interesting trees in the world, including species native and endemic to the Cayman Islands.
Even before construction work began at Camana Bay in 2005, Dart Nursery was open for eight years to propagate plants and trees, with in excess of 600 species now adorning the area.
InsideOut has highlighted the top 10 eye-catching trees.
1 Kigelia africana (sausage tree)
Located: Cinema parking lot
These have rope-like stalks that mimic spaghetti noodles, ranging from three to 24 inches long. Native to Africa, their flowers only bloom at night and have a beautiful, rich burgundy color. They are referred to as sausage trees because they have sausage-shaped fruits that range from 20 to 30 pounds, although they do not actually bear on the trees in the parking lot.
2 Azadirachta indica (neem tree)
Located: Solaris Zone parking lot
Native to India, these trees are best known for being natural insect repellents (neem is one of the key ingredients found in some eco bug sprays) and these trees are conveniently placed next to CrossFit’s outside training area, providing athletes with relief from pesky mosquitoes.
Widely spread throughout the Cayman Islands, Neem trees were introduced in the early 1970s and offer an array of medicinal benefits, including helping eye disorders, diabetes, skin diseases as well as reducing fevers and more (according to Webmd.com).
Beach Bubbles soap, which is made in Cayman, handcrafts a neem bar soap to hone in on these benefits.
3 Adansonia digitata (baobab tree)
Located: Solaris roundabout
A grand entrance to Camana Bay needs a grand tree and there is not one but three of these distinctive trees placed in this roundabout. These particular trees are 10-years-old and grow as solitary individuals.
Commonly known as the upside-down tree, they are leafless for nine months of the year and look like their roots are on the top, which gives them a mystical appearance. When in bloom, they bear very big, heavy, white flowers. These trees have very large, swollen trunks and in their native land in Africa, elephants are known to stick their trunks in the tree and drink water that has collected there.
4 Barringtonia asiatica (sea poison tree)
Located: Solaris Street
Originating from areas around the tropical coasts and islands of the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean, this species has been on the island for many years. The pom-pom flowers showcase a pinkish-white color and give off a sweet smell to attract bats and moths, which pollinate the flowers at night. This tree is referred to as the sea poison because it contains a toxin that, when ground to a powder, can be used to stun or kill fish for easy capture.
5 Cordia sebestena (orange geiger tree)
Located: Market Street
Adding a vibrant and orange hue to the Town Centre, these trees are native to the northern coast of South America. The fleshy seeds offer a beautiful smell that can be used as a perfume and as a potpourri. All you have to do is crush the wood shavings and dry the leaves/blossoms in a decorative bowl.
6 Canella winterana (pepper cinnamon tree)
Located: Canella Court
This tree is abundant at Camana Bay and even has a courtyard named after it. Situated behind Ortanique and Bay Market, this tree is native to the Caribbean. The crushed leaves have a spicy fragrance and can be used as a substitute for cinnamon. Cayman folklore says that this tree was used to hunt agoutis because they feed on canella seeds. The rabbit-like creatures were then naturally seasoned for cooking with the pepper-cinnamon flavor.
7 Hyophorbe iagenicaulis (bottle palm)
Located: Behind 89 Nexus Way building
The bottle palm resembles a Champagne bottle due to its unusual trunk shape. Also known as the dwarf palm, it grows at a slow rate and most are less than 10-feet tall.
8 Cassia fistula (golden shower tree).
Located: Cassia Court and 89 Nexus Way parking lot
Camana Bay’s most pictured tree on Instagram is so beautiful it even has a courtyard named after it. Boasting bright yellow flowers, when this tree sheds, it creates a golden carpet. Native to India and Southwest Asia, its beautiful blossoms only shine once every year and can be seen in late spring.
9 Pandadanus utilis (common screwpine)
Located: Near Ortanique on the wall leading to The Island
While its name refers to it as common, it is not a familiar tree in Cayman and though it implies it is a pine tree, it is not. Native to Madagascar, this tropical tree has small, sharp spines on its leaves and bears peculiar fruits. Hanging off its bendy-looking branches are fruits that resemble a spiky breadfruit, while the inside is a bright pineapple-color and it smells like a citrus. When cooked, this fruit is edible, but not palatable.
10 Hibiscus tiliaceus (beach hibiscus)
Located: 89 Nexus Way entrance
During the course of a day, this tree’s color-changing blossom transforms from bright yellow with a deep-red center to orange and, finally, red before it falls off. The tree has been on the island for many years and its tough bark can be made into durable rope and used for sealing cracks in boats.