NCC seeks to protect unique Brac plant

| 12/09/2019
Cayman News Service
Sybil’s crownbeard

(CNS Local Life): The National Conservation Council is about to embark on a public consultation to create a species conservation plan for an endemic Cayman Brac plant. Sybil’s crownbeard (Verbesina caymanensis), a small shrub unique to the Brac, was listed in 2013 as critically endangered as it is found nowhere else in the world other than on the north-facing cliffs of the Brac’s Bluff, above Spot Bay.

During Wednesday’s NCC general meeting, the members voted to begin the work needed to protect the plant and the unique habitat it needs to thrive. The plant has not been studied in any detail, not least because its global population is restricted to this small, highly specific habitat. However, scientists do know that it is vulnerable to unpredictable threats.

Speaking about the plant and the propose plan to protect it, local botanist Fred Burton, who heads up the DoE Terrestrial Resources Unit, explained that the Sybil’s crownbeard population appears healthy right now but any new plant pest or disease or other unknown threat could affect the entire population. Invasive plant species, especially Shamrock, already appear to be displacing Sybil’s crownbeard on the Peter’s Road Bluff ascent.

The NCC is therefore seeking a way to secure its future and safeguard its natural habitat, proposing that the cliffs supporting the plant, all of which is owned by the crown, become protected through designation as Critical Habitat. The DoE said that the cost of implementing the plan to protect this unique plant can be covered within its budget

Sybil’s crownbeard is naturally restricted to such an exceptionally small and specific location on Earth, so there is no expectation that its wild population will ever expand to a degree where it is no longer critically endangered.



Category: Conservation, Environment, Local News

Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “This is a species of the Crownbeard family with no traditional name (due to its rarity). Tthe public were invited to suggest names in 2017. The incorporation of “Sybil” was a suggestion made by former Head of Creek Primary School and then Acting Principal of Cayman Brac High School, David Holmes (“Benjy”) in honour of Sybil McLaughlin (Grand Cayman) and Sybil Jackson (Cayman Brac).” – From the published agenda for the meeting.

  2. Anonymous says:

    LOL Pic looks like a small ting. Like Milk Weed…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Interesting! Is it’s local name in honour of a Cayman Bracer, I certainly hope so ,the article didn’t mention that.