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Flora & Fauna Web

Browse the database for plants and animals found in Singapore online

Total no. of Flora Species & Cultivars
Total no. of Fauna Species
Gomphrena globosa

Plant ofthe Month

Gomphrena globosa L.

The Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena) has brightly coloured bracts which can be dried without losing its vibrancy. These cheery, long-lasting flowers symbolise unfading love and respect, and is a great gift idea for mentors during the coming Teacher’s day.

<span style="color: #000000;">Smooth Otters are able to handle food easily with their agile front paws.</span>

Animal ofthe Month

Lutrogale perspicillata (Geoffroy, 1826)

Otters can be spotted quite regularly in groups of two to more than 10 in our mangroves, mudflats, and other coastal areas. Cute as they may be, otters smell quite pungent, particularly near where they leave their spraints (otter defecation) to mark their territory on land. If you spot otters, do not touch, chase, or corner them, as this may frighten them. Instead, watch them from afar.)

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DYK - Parkia speciosa

Stink Beans

Did you know that the garlicky scent of Stink Bean is so powerful that it lingers in your body for a few days after consumption! Highly prized in Southeast Asia for its flavour, these innocent looking beans are the seeds of Parkia speciosa, and are often cooked as vegetable. Seeds are developed from its iconic cream-yellow flower clusters, which emit strong rancid smell and attract bats for pollination.

Parkia speciosa
DYK - Ploiarium alternifolium

Cicada Tree!

It is believed that the Cicada Tree (Ploiarium alternifolium) got its name after local folks saw cicadas perched on this shrub. Native to Singapore, this plant can be found in secondary forests and near water bodies such as freshwater swamps and reservoirs. When the wind blows, its glossy red-edge leaves dance and move like fingers! It has light pink-tipped white flowers which attract bees, butterflies and birds. The fruit splits open like an umbrella when ripe and releases numerous seeds.

Ploiarium alternifolium
DYK - Clitoria ternatea

Colour-changing magic

Commonly known as Butterfly Pea plant, the flowers of Clitoria ternatea is one of the key ingredient for the colour changing drink which is taking over the world by storm. Dried flowers are boiled to produce a blue solution, and it changes to purple when lemon juice is added! In traditional Peranakan culture, the blue pigment is also used for popular dessert like Kueh Salat. Butterfly Pea plant is widely cultivated in home gardens and the roots can improve soil quality by fixing nitrogen. Click on the button to learn more.

Clitoria ternatea
DYK - Garcinia subelliptica

Happiness Tree

The Happiness Tree (Garcinia subelliptica) is a common sight in the rural landscapes of Okinawa, Japan. The tree’s hard, dense wood can withstand fire and physical stresses from strong winds and are often planted in gardens to provide a barrier for houses from fire and destructive typhoons. The tree’s evergreen, thick glossy leaves also provide shade from the relentless sun. In that sense, the Happiness Tree brings joy by protecting families from natural disasters like fires and typhoons supporting a happy family life

Garcinia subelliptica
DYK - Ravenala madagascariensis

Traveller’s Palm

Did you know that the Traveller’s Palm (Ravenala madagascariensis) is not a true palm? It belongs to the Strelitziaceae family and it is a close relative to the Bird of Paradise plant (Strelitzia reginae). Native to Madagascar, the Traveller’s Palm is popular in tropical landscape because of its enormous leaves which are arranged in a fan shape. It produces big, erect inflorescence like that of Heliconias. However, it seldom blooms in Singapore due to the wet weather. Its fruit are brown capsules, enclosing numerous seeds covered with bright blue arils.

Ravenala madagascariensis

The Gelam Tree

Do you know that Kampong Glam derived its name from the gelam tree (Melaleuca cajuputi)? Kampong Glam was named after the gelam trees that were growing or planted in the area. ‘Kampong’ refers to village in Malay and ‘Glam’ (or ‘gelam’) is the common name for the tree Melaleuca cajuputi, a tree from the myrtle family (Myrtaceae). This tree has a distinct papery bark and has many medicinal uses. Kampong Glam used to be just by the sea and the gelam tree had many practical uses for boat building by the Bugis sailors! Although the gelam tree is extinct from the wild in Singapore, it still widely planted and cultivated in the urban areas of Singapore. You can even see some fine specimens planted in Kampong Glam!

The Gelam Tree

Sunda Pangolin

Video of wild Sunda Pangolin in Singapore, captured on Night Vision Equipment.

Flora & Fauna News

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Plant diversity in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Over the years, biodiversity surveys have been done in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) to document Singapore’s green treasures. 1250 plant species have since been recorded in BTNR (Ho, B.C. et al. 2019) in Singapore’s first Nature Reserve and researchers continue to find species new to science, species previously unknown in Singapore, and species thought to be extinct. Click here to read more about the latest flora survey results.

05 Sep, 2019

First seeds grown on the Moon!

Farming on the Moon may not be a fantasy anymore, as Chinese astronomers have successfully germinated cotton seeds inside a sealed biosphere, on the surface of the moon. In the past, plants were all grown on the International Space Station, but never on the Moon. This marks an important milestone as the ability to grow plants on the Moon can help in long-term space missions.

22 Jul, 2019

Trees Keep Cities Cool

The cooling effect of a small forest in the city has the profound effect of cooling the environment. Summer daytime temperatures can be lowered by 3.4 degrees Celsius. Hard city surfaces take in heat from the sun in the day and gradually give off the heat in the night. Trees however not only shade those surfaces, they also release water into the air through transpiration, cooling the surroundings. The study showed that for maximum cooling benefit, the tree canopy cover must be greater than 40 percent of an area. This information is useful for city planners to develop more livable neighbourhoods.

22 Jul, 2019