All photos by Diane Keijzer
The Divi Divi Tree
|Aruba is a desert island made up of extreme contrasts - the west side of the island around the resort area is a lush, tropical environment with gentle turqouise waters and white, powder-soft sands. The east side of the island, however, can only be described as lunar-like.
The arid conditions of the island, combined with the strong tradewinds, makes an inhospitable environment for most plant life. Upon closer inspection, however, you will find an interesting collection of Aruba vegetation.
By far, the most famous landmark of Aruba is the "Divi Divi" tree (also known as the watapana tree). These remarkable trees grow at an alarming angle towards the west coast as these trees are shaped by the continuous force of the west-blowing tradewinds; interestingly, Aruba seems to be one of the few places that the divi divi tree thrives. If you happen to get momentarily lost, you can always find your way back to the resort area by following the direction of the divi divi tree. The famous divi divi tree that graces Aruba's tourism brochures is located on the north end of Eagle Beach.
Numerous varieties of cacti are abundant: the "Pipe Organ", the "Prickly Pear", the "Bushi", and many others. The cactus plant survives during arid times by storing up water throughtout the year, shutting itself down during dry times and living off its water stores for up to 4 or 5 years, without additional rainfall. The Bushi cactus (seen at right) is a small round cactus with a long stem which contains strawberry-like fruit inside.
Pipe Organ cactus is the most abundant variety - you will find it lining the roads in the countryside, filling the fields, and acting as yard fencing around the Aruban people's homes.
The Bushi Cactus
A cluster of Bushi Cacti
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This site went online 1999.
Photos by Patti MacK copyrighted 1999 and may not be used without permission.
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