Seychelles Plant Gallery

Systematic groups

The most convenient way to browse images is by considering plant relatedness. Scientists classify plants in order to emphasize such relatedness. They define plant “families” as groups of plants more related to each other than with other plant families. Families are themselves grouped into overarching groups like classes, etc. Without getting into details, we try here to help you become more familiar with these classes. With just a little practice, and after repeatedly browsing the images, you will soon get used to these “taxonomic” groups.


This group includes most of the plants, so basically you will often identify a dicot by finding that it is not any of the other groups. Compared to Monocots, flowers are not trimerous (i.e. petals are not in multiples of 3), except for a few archaic families like Lauraceae (Cinnamon). They also have most often leaves with branched veins, which means that secondary veins are not parallel to the primary vein(s).


This group includes most herbaceous species like grasses, sedges, orchids, agaves, aloes, lily and ginger families, etc. They typically have leaves with veins that are all parallel to each other (like also the Vakwa or Bois chandelle), but there are exceptions like such as typically palms, aroids and also Cambar (Dioscorea). They include also banana-like plants such as banana trees, of course but also Canna, Heliconia. Flowers are always “trimerous” (with a multiple of 3 petals).


This is a very small group, exclusively made of introduced species in Seychelles. They include pines (but not Ced, or Casuarina, which is a dicot), sagou (Cycas) and also Araucaria species and relatives.

Ferns and fern allies

Ferns are relatively easy to recognize. They most often have very dissected leaves which unfold in a very special way (by uncurling - “circinate leaf prefoliation”, which also occurs in sagou species). They have no flowers but just spores (black dots or lines) situated below the surface of their leaves, or on their margins. Fern allies include the so called Lycopods and Lapat lezar species.

Mosses, liverworts and hornworts

These plants are by far the most neglected and poorly known, although they constitute about a third of all native species in Seychelles (see Kapisen). They are very small and grow on the trunk of trees, on rocks, sometimes directly on the ground or even on the leaves of other plants. Unlike ferns, they do not have a root system. They also lack a cuticule (protective layer) and have leaves made of one layer of cells.

Origin status

Except from the systematic groups (groups of genetically related plants), another practical way of browsing the image database is by filtering only the native species vs. only the exotic ones. If you want to identify a plant in your garden, you may try the exotic gallery. If your plant was seen in a natural habitat, then you can try the native gallery. Within each gallery, species are classified by systematic classes (see above), so you can go directly to the class you are interested in, for example Monocots or Orchids, etc.

Natives - Native plants include all plants naturally occurring in the Seychelles. Some of these native plants are found nowhere else in the world (endemics), others can be seen in Madagascar, Africa, or other countries (indigenous).

Exotics - Exotic plants are those that have been introduced by humans, on purpose or accidentally. They include many useful plants such as ornamental, medicinal, food plants, timber trees, but also many weeds and other invasive species.


The Seychelles Virtual Gallery is directly linked to the Seychelles National Herbarium database, which include also the Seychelles Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) database. If a species has never been recorded on Praslin, and you send a picture of it taken from Anse Lazio for example, the image will be added to the gallery but also your record for that locality. This information provides us with a detailed assessment of species rarity, using the number of localities and islands where it has been recorded.

The rarest and the threatened (IUCN) - Species known only from a few localities and / or classified as threatened by the IUCN.

The lost species - This gallery provides a selection of species not seen for a long time (often more than a century) and therefore to be rediscovered. It includes species only seen in the old days (e.g. Vernonia sechellensis), or species which disappeared from some islands (e.g. Schefflera procumbens on Mahé). It may also include some species recorded by mistake in Seychelles and which actually never existed (e.g. Abrodictyon tamarisciforme?). Some of these "lost" species have been rediscovered recently during explorations by the Museum and PCA.

Other thematic galleries

The best photos - A selection of the most beautiful images.

The unidentified - The galleries include images of species unidentified, or only partly identified (e.g. known to family level only), and users are welcome to help us in progressively in identifying these. Not only local plant lovers but also overseas taxonomists are most welcome to contribute.

The gallery of the month - The Seychelles Virtual Gallery is under construction, and actually it is just born. Therefore there are many species missing illustrations, or only with low quality photos, and also many species whose identity needs to be verified. Therefore, the team of plant specialists from PCA and the Seychelles National Herbarium (Museum) are continuously working on the revision of the Seychelles’ flora, and most often we proceed families afterby working on one family after another families.

In addition to the revision of the flora, the scientists keep improving the database by introducing new localities for the species. Therefore we can have a monthly thematic gallery based on the flora of Praslin for example, or the flora of the Port Glaud District, etc. The gallery will provide you with an illustration of the existing data and if you can fill any gaps, please contribute.

Finally, our database includes information on the physiognomy of the plants (e.g. herbs vs. trees etc.) or, for exotics, on the types of uses like for examplesuch as ornamentals, alimentaryfood crops, etc. Therefore many thematic galleries can actually be created using any combination of these criteria. If you have any suggestion for another thematic gallery, do not hesitate to send us your request and we will make do our best.

Now enjoy the galleries, and send us your comments, suggestions and contributions ...!!!