Glossary of Traditional Caribbean Craft Materials - B

Caribbean artisans have used similar natural resources in fashioning traditional crafts and preparing local foods. Yet these materials are often known by different names throughout the region.

Scroll through this glossary or use the search box at right to find out more about regional craft materials and recipe ingredients. You can filter the glossary by the first letter of the term using the alphabet below. To reset the alphabet filter, click “All” to the right.

Term
Balata
Harvesting bulletwood in Guyana
(Manilkara bidentate or Mimusops albescens (Sapotaceae))
Caribbean region
Synonym
Country
Bullet Wood tree
Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad
Definition

A large evergreen forest tree with abundant, leathery leaves and small edible fruit, producing a very heavy, hard and durable timber and a thick, white gum for which its bark is tapped or ‘bled’;

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Term
Ball-bush
(Leonotis nepetifolia)
Barbados, Jamaica
Synonym
Country
Ball-and-thread
Anguilla
Ball-head bush
Jamaica, St. Vincent, Tobago
Ball-head cashier, Bird honey
St. Vincent
Candle bush
Dominica
Chandilyé, Chandelier
Trinidad
Christmas candlestick
Bahamas, Jamaica
Governor-balls
Barbados
Gwo-ponpon
St. Lucia
Gwo-tèt
Dominica
Hop-bush
St. Vincent
La-lavinton
Antigua
Lion bush
Guyana
Lion’s tail
Barbados
Man-piaba
Barbados, Guyana
Pomp-pomp
St. Vincent
Rabbit food
St. Kitts
Definition

A wild herb growing to about 4ft in height, erect with a four-sided stalk but no branches, having leaves almost entirely on the lower stalk and a few ball-like spiky, reddish-brown inflorescences spaced along the rest of its length; the weed is used both for medicinal and ornamental purposes;

This plant is frequently used in dried flower arrangements

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Term
Barbados Ebony
(Albizia lebbeck)
Synonym
Country
Lang-fanm
St. Lucia
Monkey shack-shack
Guyana
West Indian ebony
Trinidad
Whistling bean
Bahamas
Woman-tongue
Caribbean region
Definition

A tree about 30ft. tall that flourishes in Barbados with wood that is dark and close-grained and polishes well.

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