The Atoll Forest

In the humid tropics, mixed broadleaf forest is very common and conspicuous in areas undisturbed by human activity. On small tropical islands like the Marshalls, this type of forest has a low to medium height with a closed canopy (a forest in which there is little or no open space between the topmost layers of the leaves, twigs, and branches). The mixed broadleaf atoll forest of the Marshalls is usually composed of relatively few species of trees, shrubs, and herbs. Epiphytes (plants living on the surfaces of other plants) such as kartōp, the "bird's nest fern" (Asplenium nidus) are found in the wetter southern atolls, but there are only a few species of these so-called "air plants" in the atoll forests of most of the Marshall Islands.

Several of the woody and other plants in the atoll forests of the Marshall Islands are listed below. It should be noted that some of these plants are found only on the more humid islands of the southern Marshalls. Click on any of these plant names to see illustrations and information about each species listed.

Additional Information About The Atoll Forest

Agroforestry man made forests information

Vegetation Zones


Individual Plants

Marshallese Names Scientific Name Family Names
Anmōkadede or baidik Nephrolepsis acutifolia (Desv.) Christ. Polypodiaceae
Armwe Pipturus argenteus (Forst.F.) Wedd. Urticaceae
Atat Triumfetta procumbens Forst. f. Tiliaceae
Baañke Cucurbita pepo L. Cucurbitaceae
Baidik Nephrolepis biserrata (Sw.) Schott. Polypodiaceae
Bōb, edwaan, wūmaañ Pandanus tectorius S. Parkinson ex z. Pandanaceae
Ekkōñ (rālik) or
Kūkōñ (ratak)
Terminalia samoensis Rech. Combretaceae
Jeimōta Caesalpinia bonduc (L.) Roxb. Fabaceae
Kaar Premna serratifolia L. Verbenaceae
Kajdo Ixora casei Hance Rubiaceae
Kañal Pisonia grandis R.Br. Nyctaginaceae
Kartōp Asplenium nidus L. Polypodiaceae
Kielomar Aidia cochichinensis Lour. Rubiaceae
Kino Phymatosorus grossus (Langsdorff & Fischer) Brownlie Polypodiaceae
Kotōl Terminalia catappa L. Combretaceae
Kūtaak Allophylus timorensis (DC.) Bl. Sapindaceae
Ļo Hibiscus tiliaceus L. Malvaceae
Lukwej or Jijo Calophyllum inophyllum L. Guttiferae
Artocarpus altilis (Parkins.) Fosb. Moraceae
Paañ or Martok Psilotum nudum (L.) Griseb. Psilotaceae
Nen Morinda citrifolia L. Rubiaceae
Ni Cocos nucifera L. Palmae
Piñpiñ Hernandia nymphaeifolia L. Hernandiaceae
Tōpdo Ficus tinctoria Forst.  Moraceae
Utilomar Guettarda speciosa L. Rubiaceae
Wōp Barringtonia asiatica (L.) Kurz Lecythidaceae
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