What’s Right With Jamaica? Cinchona Botanical Gardens

How thankful are Jamaicans for Jamaica? It’s a wonderful country teeming with enthusiasm, brilliance, talent and heritage as lush as our verdant landscapes. There is much in this little island to be grateful for, and here at diGJamaica, we don’t need a holiday or observance to celebrate Jamaica … we believe in celebrating the uniqueness of this country all year round. Follow our What’s Right With Jamaica series to see our weekly highlight of something refreshingly special in the island. You can also suggest topics for the series by sending emails to digjamaica@gmail.com.

This week, we focus on the Cinchona Botanical Gardens, established in 1868 by Sir John Peter Grant, a past governor of Jamaica. According to the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, this garden, nestled in the mountains in east rural St Andrew, offers a view of Strawberry Hill, the Blue Mountains, Liguanea plains, and Kingston. At an altitude of 4500-5500 ft, the Cinchona Botanical Gardens is the highest garden of its type in the Caribbean. It also carries historical significance, as the Cinchona trees planted in the garden were used in the production of quinine, a medication used to treat malaria. That’s where the garden got its name from.

Forty acres of Cinchona was planted with Asian Tea and there was also a garden of European crops. Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries notes that, “By 1874, Cinchona became the centre for experimental botanical work within the island.” European plants and vegetables cultivated in the garden included “cork oak, jalop, camphor, mulberry, rubber, green peas, carrots, Irish potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, [and] citrus”. Enjoy the pictures from the hike trail from Clydesdale to Cinchona.