The fofoti Episode 180

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Etnia Nativa through Island Insight shares native cultural awareness educates and safeguards Aruba’s heritage and encourages readers to experiment: an island keeper state of mind. Live and discover true destination values behind our beaches and since this native cultural blog, get more reasons to love Aruba.

During this episode we want to raise awareness about one particular our local tree Conocarpus erectus, locally known as “Fofoti” alias buttonwood and button mangrove. Yes, a mangrove shrub which belongs to the Combretaceae family. This species grows on shorelines in tropical and subtropical regions around the world.

A native Aruban tree which is well known for its tenacity. The full shining sun, high alkaline soil and salty air, are all ideal conditions for our “Fofoti”, to thrive, making it a perfect tree for coastal areas of our “one happy island “. The bark of the Green Buttonwood`s becomes very interesting with time since it turns, contorts and twists while gaining size.

As you could have noticed that our Eagle beach Buttonwood tree has been photographed by almost every visitor however it has also been featured mistakenly in many Arubans advertising magazine around the world as iconic specie of the island called Watapana “Caesalpinia coriaria” famous for its valuable seed pods or “Divi- divi pods”.

As you could have noticed that our Eagle beach Buttonwood tree has been photographed by almost every visitor however it has also been featured mistakenly in many Aruban advertising magazine around the world with an iconic specie of the island called the Watapana; Caesalpinia coriaria famous for its valuable seed pods or “Divi- divi”.

The Fofoti tree – Button mangrove or buttonwood is a low-branched, multi-trunked, shrubby evergreen with glaucous medium-green leaves. It blooms from spring to fall, with inconspicuous greenish flowers emerging in dense cone-like heads in terminal panicles. The flowers attract butterflies, bees and many other pollinators. They are followed by small purplish-brown non edible button-like fruits; these berries make for an easy identification marker for this species of mangrove. The dark brown attractive bark is ridged and scaly. Although some of the literature indicates the Buttonwoods are slow-growing, others highlight its fast growth after it is established.

Although green buttonwoods look messy at first glance, they are very resistant to wind and make a good addition to a windbreak or a protection belt. They are very resistant to air pollution and salty soil. While these huge, often untidy trees are probably too big for a small garden, they work great as wildlife trees. Buttonwood trees propagate best from cuttings, which will root effortlessly if gathered during the active growing season. Although rooting hormone is not required, buttonwood cuttings will root faster and perform better overall if treated with mild hormone prior to planting.

This is one of the most important host trees for marine birds and provides significant food and cover for all birds and wildlife in general. The flowers, leaves and rough bark attract many insects and spiders, which, in turn, provide food for insect-eating birds and lizards it’s a specie to be considered in reforestation efforts.

Intrigued by Aruba`s origins and cultural heritage? Then we encourage you to do something different outside the usual tourist grid. Be an exclusive visitor of Etnia Nativa. A private native Aruban residential set up where you will be able to touch and be touched by contemporary authentic Aruban, art, archaic and archaeological artifacts, lithic tools, colonial furniture and items, an all recycled environment of peace and relaxation, old knowledge education.

Etnia Nativa is since 1994 the home and atelier of our acclaimed columnist, artist and island connoisseur, opening and sharing his resplendent home; experience 100% native Aruba, something completely different for a change. Appointment is required + 297 592 2702 or.