Plant of the Month
Ficus variegata or Common Red-stem Fig is a deciduous tree native to Singapore. Reaching 40 m tall, it produces egg-shaped, elliptic to elongated leaves. Figs are pink or red, and can be found in clusters on thick, rough stalks along the branches and trunk. This keystone species supports numerous fauna such as their fig wasp pollinator, Ceratosolen appendiculatus. Ripe figs are food for plantain squirrels and long-tailed macaques. The species is also a host plant for the butterfly, Mecodina lanceola.
Animal of the Month
The Malayan Horned Frog has a snout that is distinctly pointed and horn-like skin flaps present above the eyes, giving it excellent camouflage on the forest floors of the Central Nature Reserves, where they are confined to in Singapore. It has a loud call that sounds like a metallic honk.
Green Grass Jelly plant
Queen Coralbead (Nephroia orbiculata) is a sprawling, woody vine that is critically endangered in Singapore. It has waxy, light bluish-green leaves that can be blended with water to form a green Grass Jelly, that is eaten as a dessert in Indonesia. The plant produces clusters of round, blue to black fruit, relished by birds like Bulbuls (Pycnonotus spp.), they also help to disperse the seeds.Queen Coralbead
Finger-licking Citrus peels
Besides its unusual appearance, did you know the fruit of Citrus medica or Fingered Citron makes excellent zest? The Fingered Citron has extremely thick peels that makes up most of the fruit. Its rind is rough and has a bumpy texture, but is fragrant and lacks the bitterness commonly found in lemon and orange peels. This citrus fruit is a great alternative in recipes calling for lemon or orange zest. The zest can also be diced and cooked in sugar water to make candied fruit, perfect for snacking!Finger-licking Citrus peels
Did you know that the Pink Mempat is the first tree species planted by Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1963? This inaugural tree planting event kickstarted Singapore’s nationwide greening campaign. The Pink Mempat is treasured for its light pink flowers that are triggered by heavy rain after a prolonged dry spell. The tree sheds its leaves and faintly fragrant flowers appear followed by a flush of deep red, young leaves. These blooming events result in crowns covered in pink flowers reminiscent of the spring flowering of Sakuras, earning the tree its common name, Singapore Sakura.Singapore Sakura
The largest orchid in the world
The largest orchid plant in the world is the Tiger Orchid (Grammatophyllum speciosum), it can grow in clumps up to 3 m wide and are purported to weigh as much as a small car! Found in Singapore, this orchid can grow in the ground or in the forks of large trees. The flowers have yellow and orange-brown markings, which resemble the colours of a tiger’s coat, hence its name, the Tiger Orchid. When in full bloom, the Tiger Orchid can put on an impressive floral showcase with multiple sprays of inflorescences that is sure to excite everyone. Click on the button below to learn more.Tiger Orchid
The ‘Ribena®’ Plant
Did you know you can make your own ‘Ribena®’ from a plant that is easy to grow in Singapore? Ribena® is a fruit drink made from blackcurrants which grow best in temperate climates. However, you can make your own version of Ribena® with Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) calyces. The calyx (plural: calyces) is the outermost layer of the flower and is composed of all the sepals. After a Roselle flower blooms and withers, the calyx swells to form a deep red, fleshy structure that resembles a flower bud. By boiling the calyces in hot water and adding a little sugar, you can make a nutritious drink that tastes like Ribena® and is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants. Roselle is well-suited to Singapore’s climate, so plants will produce an abundance of calyces—enough to satisfy your thirst! Click on the green button to learn more about Roselle.Roselle
Sunda Slow Loris
Video of wild Sunda Slow Loris in Singapore, captured on Night Vision Equipment.