As the terrain is generally arid, the hills have mostly poor soil and support only cacti and succulent plants. During the rainy season the area turns green with vegetation and grass. The eastern part of the island is greener as it receives more rainfall. A 1994 survey has revealed several hundred indigenous species of plants including the naturalized varieties of flora; some growing in irrigated areas while the dry areas are dominated by the cacti variety. Sea grapes and palm trees are a common sight with mangroves and shrubs surviving in the saline coastal swamps. Coconut palm was brought to the island from the Pacific islands. Important plants noted on the island are: The Flamboyant trees of Madagascar, which have feathery leaves and blooms with clusters of orange red flowers, the frangipanis of many varieties with pointed waxy leaves and which bloom in different colours of white, red and yellow, latanier or sabal palms at Lorient, wild trumpet (poui or pourier) trees, Manchineel trees on the sandy beaches which are harmful and even poisonous; anaconda or geranium trees etc common.
Other trees of note include the royal palm, Sea grape trees in the form of shrubs in the beaches and as tall trees 18–24 feet (5.5–7.3 m) in the interior areas of the island, aloe or aloe vera (brought from the Mediterranean), the night blooming cereus, mamillaria nivosa, yellow prickly pear or barbary fig which was planted as barbed wire defences against invading British army in 1773, Mexican cactus, stapelia gigantea, golden trumpet or yellow bell which was originally from South America, bougainvillea and others.