Included here is the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Jamaica, Hispanola and Puerto Rico), the Lesser Antilles (including Montserrate, Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenado), the Bahamas, Bermuda and the southern tropical part of the Florida Peninsula.

In Jamaica these wetland forest are mainly found in inland areas at altitudes ranging from about 300-700 m with large stands occurring in the so-called Cockpit country and on limestone peaks such as Mount Diablo and Dolphin Peak. Most of the trees are evergreen and usually form two tiers but with occasional emergents such as the endemic Terminalia latifolia (Combretaceae) reaching heights of 30 m or more. The canopy, which is up to 20 m tall, is typically closed but never dense. Characteristic species include Brosimum alicastrum, Buchenavia capitata, Cecropia peltata, Dipholis nigra, Lacuma mammosa, Mimusops excisa, Pithecellobium arborea, Podocarpus purdieanus, Prunus occidentalis, Zanthoxylum martinicense and the endemic Nectandra antillana (Lauraceae), Psidium montanum (Myrtaceae), Sloanea jamaicensis (Elaeocarpaceae) and Zizyphes chloroxylon (Rhamnaceae). The dense sub-canopy which reaches heights of about 12 m comprises its own characteristic species such as Simaruba glauca, Trophis racemosa, Zanthoxylum flavum and several endemic species like Antirrhoea jamaicensis (Rubiaceae), Comocladia pinnatifolia (Anacardiaceae), Lagetta lagetto (Thymelaeaceae), Mosquitoxylon jamaicensis (Anacardiaceae), Ocotea staminea (Lauraceae), Sapium jamaicense (Euphorbiaceae) and Spathelia glabrescens (Rutaceae). However, the shrub and field layers are sparse and in places completely lacking due to the rocky substratum. The few shrubs may include Piper nigrinodum, several Melastomaceae and the endemic species Acidoton urens (Euphorbiaceae) and Carica jamaicensis (Caricaceae), while endemic components of the herb layer may include Gyrotaenia spicata (Urticaceae), Peperomia amplexicaulis (Piperaceae) and Pilea ciliata (Urticaceae). Lianas and other climbers are common especially climbing aroids with their characteristic long, thin, hanging roots, which can be seen throughout these forests. Among the many epiphytes, bromeliads are frequent and include a number of endemic species like Hohenbergia distans and H. eriostachya (Bromeliaceae). Other bromeliads of the genus Tillandsia are tree trunk epiphytes. Seasonal rain forests are also extensive in the Antilles, but in Cuba they are now of very limited extend because of the importance of these areas to tropical agriculture. The few Cuban forests left are also two canopy systems but also include large emergent stands of the deciduous Ceiba pentandra which can reach heights of 40 m. Other canopy species include Bucida buceras, Guazuma ulmifolia, Mastichodendron foetidissimum and Roystonia regia together with endemics like Lonchocarpus domingensis (Fabaceae), Oxandra lanceolata (Annonaceae) and Pithecellobium cubense (Fabaceae).


Adam, C. D. 1972. Flowering Plants of Jamaica. University of the West Indies, Jamaica.

Asprey, G. F. & Robbins, R. G. 1953. The Vegetation of Jamaica. Ecological Monographs, 23: 359-412.

Borhidi, A. 1991. Phytogeography and Vegetation Ecology of Cuba. Akademiai Kiado, Budapest.

Bretting, P. Jamaica’s Flowering Plants: Endemic Genera Revisited. Jamaica Journal, 16: 49.

Eyre, L. A. 1996. The Tropical Rainforest of Jamaica. Jamaica Journal, 26: 26-37.

Graham, S. A. 2002. Phylogenetic relationships and biogeography of the endemic Caribbean genera Crenea, Ginoria and Haitia (Lythraceae). Caribbean Journal of Science, 38: 195-204.

Graveson, R. 2009. The Classification of the Vegetation of Saint Lucia. National Forest Demarcation and Bio-Physical Resource Inventory Project Caribbean-Saint Lucia (SFA 2003/SLU/BIT-04/0711/EMF/LC). Finnish Consultancy Group (FCG) International Ltd in association with AFC Consultants International GmbH. Technical Report 3. Presented to the European Commission and Banana Industry Trust.  

Liogier, H. A. & Martorell, L. F. 1982. Flora of Puerto Rico and Adjacent Islands: a systematic synopsis. Editorial De La Universidad De Puerto Rico.

Helmer, E. L., Ramos, O., Del, T. López, M., Quiñones, M. & Diaz, W. 2002. Mapping the forest type and land cover of Puerto Rico, a component of the Caribbean Biodiversity Hotspot. Caribbean Journal of Science, 38: 165-183.

Howard, R. A. 1979. Flora of the West Indies. In: Tropical Botany. Eds. K. Larsen and L. B. Holm-Nielsen. Academic Press.

Panagopoulos, N. (ed). 1999. A Guide to Caribbean Vegetation Types: Preliminary Classification System and Descriptions. The Nature Conservancy and others.

Vazquez, O. J. & Kolterman, D. A. 1998. Floristic composition and vegetation types of the Punta Guaniquilla Nature Reserve – Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. Caribbean Journal of Science, 34: 265-279.

Woods, C. A. & Sergile, F. E. 2001. Biogeography of the West Indies. Second Edition. CRC Press.