The flora of Mauritius consists of about 691 species of plants out of which 273 species are
endemic to the island, which means they are found nowhere else in the world and about 150
species are shared with other islands of the Mascarene Archipelago; Reunion and Rodrigues. A
high proportion of these native species (80%) are considered threatened according to the IUCN
Red List criteria. 96 species are known from less than 50 individuals and forty of these are
known from less than 10 individuals in the wild. The
International Union for Conservation of
has quoted Mauritius as having the third most threatened island
flora in the world, after Hawaii and the Canary Islands.
The flora unit at NPCS is responsible for the conservation and management of the native flora.
History of native flora in Mauritius
When Mauritius was first visited in the 17th century, it was covered by dense vegetation.
Following colonization, the forests of Mauritius have been cleared for agriculture, forestry,
villages and towns, and other developments. Today good quality native forests occupy less than
2.0 % of our total area. These forests are found on mountain ridges, on the Offshore Islets and in
Black River Gorges and Bras D’ Eau National Parks. These forest remnants provide the last
habitats for our endemic flora and fauna.
Our remaining native forests are under constant threat of alien invasive plants such as Chinese
guava (Psidium cattleianum), privet (Ligustrum robustum) and ravenale (Ravenala
madagascariensis). These exotic plants compete with the native species for space, light and
nutrients. Introduced animals also contribute significantly to the degradation process either by
physically damaging the plants or helping in the dispersion of the seeds of the exotic plants.
Herbivorous mammals such as the rusa deer (Cervus timorensis) and the hare (Lepus nigricollis)
browse young plants and tender shoots. Monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) selectively destroy
flowers and fruits as well as foliage, wild pigs (Sus scrofa) cause extensive damage by eating
Contact Details: Mr. S. Gopal
464-4053 / 5251-1981
roots of plants and disturbing the soil, and rats eat the ripe fruit. Red whiskered bulbul and wild
pigs disperse the seeds of the Chinese guava.
Some beautiful plants of our national heritage include:
Boucle d’oreille / Trochetia boutoniana
Found only on the flanks of Le Morne Brabant, it was declared as the National Flower on 12
March 1992. The red bell-shaped flowers contain coloured nectar and are pollinated by geckos
(lizard) & grey white eye (pic pics).
Fleur de Lys / Crinum mauritianum
The Crinum mauritianum is a herbaceous plant and is endemic to Mauritius. It was believed to
be extinct in the wild, but was rediscovered in 1973, near Midlands Dam (Barrage de Midlands).
Due to its white flowers, it has become an ornamental in Mauritius, and it is frequently used in
Bois dentelle / Elaeocarpus bojeri
Bois dentelle is a beautiful shrub tree, found in high cloud forest on the island of Mauritius.
The species has no commercial value. Only two populations of this plant species are left in
Bois bouquet banané / Ochna mauritiana
This species are native to tropical woodlands of Africa, the Mascarenes and Asia. The name of
this genus comes from the Greek word Ochne
, used by Homer and meaning wild pear
, as the
leaves are similar in appearance. These plants are widely cultivated as decorative plants.
Ex-situ conservation of native plants of Mauritius
The Native Plant Propagation Centre (NPPC) is the main ex-situ facility for the conservation of
the native flora of Republic of Mauritius. It has been set up in 1996 at Robinson Road, Curepipe
to provide necessary facilities for the propagation of threatened native plant species, ferns, and
orchids together with a collection of native plants in an Arboretum. It comprises of the
Figure 1: Green House
The greenhouse is a structure covered with glass that allows sufficient sunlight to enter for the
purpose of growing plants. At NPPC the greenhouse consists of three departments namely
preparation room, mist chamber & weaning chamber.
Propagation of threatened plants is carried out both sexually by seeds and vegetatively by
cuttings, spores and bulbils using specific techniques.
During the past ,native plants had been successfully propagated and which include some of the
most endangered species such Helichrysum caepitosum, Pandanus prostates, Syzygium guehoii,
Cyphostemma mappia, Eugenia tinnifolia, Terminalia bentzoe, Ficus densifolia, Pandanus
macrostigma, Pandanus pyramidalis, Pilea laevicaulis, Stilingea lineate, Hyophorbe vaughanii,
Urena lobata, Badula sieberi, and chionanthus bromeana.
Figure 2: Shade House
In the shade house, hardening process is achieved. This process enables the plants resist harsh
conditions such as water stress & scorching sun.
Figure 3: Fernery Unit
The fernery unit comprises of a fern laboratory & a collection of several species of
pteridophytes & orchid species. Propagation of ferns are carried out in the fern lab through
spores & bulbils.
Figure 4: Arboretum
The arboretum acts as a field gene bank where endemic plants of Mauritius are growth along
with a medicinal corner. It is also use to create awareness among public and for educational
Conservation Management Area (CMA)
CMAs are actively managed plots which have been set up in Black River Gorges National Park in a bid to
preserve our different vegetation types. Some of these plots have been fenced so as to exclude deer and
wild pigs. All the exotic invasive weeds (e.g., Chinese guava, privet, and liane cerf) have been removed to
allow natural regeneration of the native forests.
The network of 13 CMAs covers 85 hectares and encompasses all of the main forest. The forest area
under active management is being continually enlarged to help protect native species in situ.
List of fenced CMAs
Mare Longue CMA
Brise Fer CMA
Morne Seche CMA
Bel Ombre CMA
Mt Cocotte CMA
List of non-fenced restoration areas
Mare aux Joncs
Wiolab- Plateau Remousse
Mare longue extension
Protected Area Network (PAN) Project
This project is about expansion and ensuring effective management of the protected area
network both in public and private sector to safeguard threatened biodiversity. The Government
has the firm intention to protect the remaining biodiversity in areas which have not been
monitored and surveyed. It is funded by UNDP/GEF, Government of Mauritius, private sector
The project objectives seek to strengthen the institutional and operational capacity to:
Identify, prioritize and target gaps in private and state owned lands for protected area
expansion and conservation.
Develop regulatory drivers and incentive framework to support protected area expansion and
conservation on private and state owned lands.
Cost effectively mitigates the threats and pressures on the unique biodiversity in the protected
To ensure better integration of the protected area network into the country’s socio economic
development priorities in particular ecotourism activities to ensure its long term financial
Involvement of relevant stakeholders in the implementation of the project.
At the end of the project the following targets are set:
The protected area network is targeted to be increased from 8,027 ha to 14,920 ha.
More than 400 ha of degraded forests will be cleared from invasive and restored with native in
the next 5 years.
This project will help to propose attractive incentives to the private sector so that they can take
care of their forests and control of alien invasive species could be sustained at a national level.
It will also encourage research on better cost effective strategies for the control of alien invasive
species which as you are all aware is one of the important threats to Mauritian native
All CMA’s and newly weeded areas have been maintained by the contract labourers working on
Protected Area Network (PAN) project.
Figure 5: Area with invasive alien species
Figure 6: Workers weeding the CMA