The majority of the 300 or so plant species found on Ascension today have been introduced by humans in the past two centuries. Records of plant life by the earliest visitors to Ascension are scarce, but it seems that approximately 25 species are indigenous. Of these, ten are endemic to Ascension - see table below. Four of these have not been recorded for a number of years and are considered to be extinct.

SPECIES
TYPE
STATUS
 
Oldenlandia adscensionis Flowering plant Extinct  
Euphorbia origanoides Flowering plant Endangered  
Sporobolus caespitosus Grass Endangered  
S. durus Grass Extinct  
Dryopteris ascensionis
Fern Extinct  
Anogramma ascensionis Fern Extinct  
Marattia purpurascens Fern Lower risk  
Asplenium ascensionis Fern Lower risk  
Xiphopteris ascensionense Fern Lower risk  
Pteris adscensionis Fern Critically endangered  

Status from the report of the Edinburgh University Expedition 1998.

Most of the extinctions are thought to be due to the inability of the native species to compete with the more vigorous introduced species. Finding the endemic plants of Ascension Most of the remaining species can be found on Green Mountain. Elliott's Path is a particularly good area. Asplenium ascensionis can be found on the walls of some of the cuttings and tunnels. The area at the east end of the mountain known as 'Windy Corner' has several exposed rocky slopes where Sporobolus caespitosus and Xiphopteris ascensionense can be found. The latter species can also be found in the bamboo plantation around the Dew Pond at the summit of Green Mountain. Here it grows on the mosses that are found on the nodes of the bamboo shoots. The larger Marattia purpurascens can also be found growing among the bamboo at the Dew Pond. The largest population of the fern Pteris adscensionis is found in an inaccessible gully on the north slope of Cricket Valley. Here it is found with a large population of Asplenium ascensionis. Pteris adscensionis has also been recorded in Breakneck Valley above the Norfolk Island pine plantation. The Ascension Spurge Euphorbia origanoides is found throughout the island in dry ash plain and lava habitats. The centre of the population is in the south-west of the island on the slopes of South Gannet Hill, Cotar Hill and Round Hill.


 

Last revised on the 1st of September 2002. For any comments or questions about the Society and its work, or this website, please e-mail us via this link in Ascension.