Small Caribbean islands are wonderful showcases of biodiversity. All islands of the Lesser Antilles had equal access to a similar suite of invading plants, yet differences in geology, topography, climate, and human habitation have produced very different floristic effects. Study of these differences can contribute to a better understanding of biodiversity, yet thorough and accurate information on what plants are located on each of these islands is not readily available. This floristic study of the island of Sint Eustatius – "Statia" as it is known to its inhabitants – may serve as a model for the assemblage of such information.
The flora of Statia, which surprisingly contains two endemic taxa, has had only one previous complete floristic study, that of Boldingh published in 1909. A little over 50 years later, Stoffers began a more detailed one, which was never finished. The present synoptic flora, consisting of 626 vascular plants, is based mainly on the author's collection between 2009 and 2014 of over 1,000 specimens. It is intended to meet the needs of botanists, ecologists, and others who wish to know which plants are now present on the island and which previously noted plants are no longer known to be present.
Franklin S. Axelrod is currently Collections Manager at the Herbarium of the Biology Department at the University of Puerto Rico–Río Piedras (UPRRP). He came to Puerto Rico 38 years ago and has been collecting and identifying plants there for over 30 years. He has also collected plants in many islands of the Greater and Lesser Antilles. He is author of A Systematic Vademecum to the Vascular Plants of Puerto Rico (2011). Dr. Axelrod is now working on a similar book for the nearby island of Saba.