We describe forests from three areas of Jamaica, all on White Limestone but with markedly different rainfall regimes. The areas are Hog House Hill in the north-east with lower montane rain forest at c. 450 m altitude with a rainfall of c. 4000 mm yr−1; Broom Hall in the centre of the island with evergreen seasonal forest at c. 670 m altitude and with a rainfall of c. 1600 mm yr−1 and a marked dry season; and Round Hill near the south coast with dry semi-evergreen forest at c. 300 m altitude with an irregularly distributed rainfall of c. 1000 mm yr−1. Species lists were made from c. 180 ha at Hog House Hill, c. 5 ha at Broom Hall and c. 50 ha at Round Hill, and detailed inventories made of five sample sites of c. 1000 m2, two at Hog House Hill, one at Broom Hall and two at Round Hill.
At Hog House Hill we listed 280 vascular plant species, including 118 species of trees and larger shrubs; at Broom Hall 247 and 135; at Round Hill 129 and 81. Species-area and species-individuals curves confirm that Broom Hall was richer in tree species than Hog House Hill. The wetter forests contain high proportions of species endemic to Jamaica: 40% of the total flora at Hog House Hill and 36% at Broom Hall. Canopy height decreased from c. 26–28 m at Hog House Hill to c. 13–24 m at Broom Hall to c. 8–15 m at Round Hill. Predominant leaf size decreased from mesophyll at Hog House Hill to notophyll at Broom Hall to microphyll at Round Hill.
Compared with forests on other Caribbean islands, the Jamaican forests appear to be as species-rich as any, but lower in stature than natural forest in Trinidad and Dominica. Continental Neotropical forests are both more species-rich and taller.