35 years on, ebony hero Charlie gets his name on the map

A strong wind blew over the party that had gathered above St Helena’s wildest cliffs to honour Charlie Benjamin as an island hero. And nearly 5,000 miles away in London, a heavy drizzle blattered against the windows of the elegant room at Kew Gardens where his daughter was getting married. Speeches at both locations recalled […]

Bride Wendy has her flower on her cake – and eats it

The St Helena ebony, rescued from extinction by Charlie Benjamin, has found a place in UK national ceremonial – and on his daughter’s wedding cake. Simon Pipe of St Helena Online was honoured to give a speech telling Charlie’s story. Wendy Benjamin would have liked to have living ebony flowers at her wedding to Campbell Duncan. But […]

Move to recognise Charlie’s bravery – and the plant he saved

Renewed efforts are in hand to adopt the St Helena ebony as the island’s national flower. And a place on the map may be in store for the man who brought it back from extinction – in his teeth. Charlie Benjamin scaled a dangerous cliff to retrieve the rediscovered plant. Now it has been suggested […]

The Saint who risked all to rescue a plant

The day Charlie Benjamin climbed up a cliff with a flower in his teeth may become part of  St Helena folklore. That perilous act brought back the island’s ebony plant from apparent extinction. There has since been talk of declaring it the national flower. Charlie’s daughter, Wendy Benjamin, wants to ensure the story of his […]

Wirebird remains on global danger list, thanks to airport

St Helena’s unique wirebird features on the latest “red list” of the world’s critically endangered species, thanks to threats from the airport and new tourist developments. Its recovering population should have been enough for its threat status to be relaxed, but it was argued that it should remain on the danger list to give time […]

Endemics for sale: St Helena’s new cash crop?

Some of St Helena’s unique plants could be grown for export to garden centres around the world, it’s been suggested. The idea is put forward in the masterplan for the Wirebird Hills eco-resort at Broad Bottom, which also includes planting endemic species across the 160-hectare site. Growing tree ferns could become a business opportunity for Saints, […]

George Benjamin: the man who saved the St Helena ebony

George Benjamin had already discovered the last surviving St Helena Olive tree when, in 1980, he spotted an unusual plant on a cliff. It turned out to be one of the island’s “lost” endemic plants: the St Helena (dwarf) ebony, now widely re-established on the island. George died on 30 April 2012. BASIL GEORGE has […]