The month of January brought flowers to the Wayaca
In January people could observe that many Wayaca (Guaiacum officinale) trees on the Island were flowering. The Wayaca is an indigenous tree of Aruba that has the ability of flowering several times a year. At the start of the flowering period the Wayaca sets flowers which are brightly purplish colored. It looks as if the plant is calling for attention of insects and bees to come to pollinate its flowers. During this period the trees are buzzing with bees. After a few days the flowers become paler and at the end of pollination the flowers are plain white.
The color purple is quite different than the usual yellow that most flowers of the Aruban flora have, like Brasil (Haemyotoxylon brasiletto), Hubada (Acacia turtuosa), Cawara di Mondi (Cordia Dentata), Flor di Cruz (Thespesia populnea) and Kibrahacha (Tabebuia billbergii).
In the past, according to Dr. Hartog, there was a Wayaca forrest eastward of Alto Vista. Nowadays this seems unlikely according to the experts. As a fact many Wayaca trees were logged in the past by the inhabitants of the Island. The Wayaca tree is a hard wood also known as pockwood, which was very useful as timber wood. The logging of the Wayaca started already in pre-Colombian times as remnants of Wayaca timber were found in pole holes at the archaeological site of Tanki Flip. In colonial times the Wayaca timber was exported to Europe through Curaçao, alongside the domestic use. Nowadays the oldest Wayaca trees can be observed in the Arikok National Park, mainly in the ditches like ‘Rooi Prins’.
Planting a tree in remembrance of an eventful date is common practice and the Wayaca tree is perfect for such an occasion. It is an evergreen, slow grower, with low water demand, which supports heavy pruning easily. Therefore it fits perfectly in a hedge, but also will do well in a far corner of the garden.
The Department of Agriculture, Husbandry and Fisheries (DLVVM), specifically the section of Nature Management promotes the maintenance of a vital population of the Aruban flora, through cultivation of indigenous trees and selling these to the public. So therefore DLVVM has also some yearlings of the Wayaca tree for sale at Piedra Plat 114 A between the Protestant Church and the Piedra Plat traffic bridge.
For more information call +297 585 6473 or email Department of Agriculture, Husbandry and Fisheries directly.
[Information courtesy of Mr. Facundo Franken of the Department of Agriculture, Husbandry and Fisheries (DLVVM) - Nature Management]