Most islands have poor, sandy soil and vegetation ranges from thick to sparse to none at all. The vegetated islands have mangroves, breadfruit trees, banyans, bamboo, pandanus, banana, heliotrope, caltrop, hibiscus, tropical vines and numerous coconut palms. Larger, wetter islands have small areas of rainforest.

Sweet potatoes, yams, taro, millet and watermelon are grown. The most fertile island is Foammulah in the extreme south, which supports a wider variety of crops, including mangoes and pineapples. Lemons and limes once grew all over the islands, but a fungal disease killed them off, and virtually all citrus fruit is now imported.

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