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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
Dianella ensifolia

Plant of the Month

Dianella ensifolia

Dianella ensifolia, also known as Cerulean Flax-lily, is a perennial herb that is native to Singapore. It is commonly found in forests and along rocky shores and forms grassy clumps of long sword-shaped leaves. Flower spikes bear white, yellow or light purplish blue star-shaped flowers that are followed by glossy bluish purple berries. The striking fruit are thought to be toxic. In parts of Southeast Asia, the plant parts are used in traditional medicine to treat skin infections, parasitic worms, wounds and fatigue.

Copyright belongs to photographer.

Animal of the Month

Megophrys nasuta

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.

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Dillenia suffruticosa

Versatility of Simpoh Air

Simpoh Air is a free-flowering large shrub that produces striking large yellow flowers, which only last for a day. When ripe, its fruit splits open revealing seeds encased in a fleshy red aril and enjoyed by birds. Did you know that this pioneer species has a trove of versatile uses? Its deep taproot allows it to access underground water sources, and its presence could sometimes indicate groundwater sources. This quick-growing plant creates shade in otherwise barren environments, supporting the growth of shade-loving species and promoting the diversity and development of forests. Simpoh Air’s large waxy leaves are also traditionally used in Peninsular Malaysia to wrap and contain food like tempeh.

Versatility of Simpoh Air
DYK_Nelumbo_nucifera

Waterlily or Lotus?

Did you know that Waterlily and Lotus are different plant species? Waterlilies belong to the genus Nymphaea and their leaves are typically found on the water’s surface, while Lotuses belong to the genus Nelumbo and their leaves are held on stalks that can extend up to 2 m above water. Additionally, waterlily leaves are often deeply notched with some having purple, yellow or white variegation, while lotus leaves are completely circular and green.

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Sticherus truncatus_Low Wei Teng

The 3 Musketeers and the Fourth

Did you know that there is not 1 but 3 species of Resam (Dicranopteris sp.) in Singapore? They are namely D. curranii, D. linearis var. linearis and D. subpectinata. Often found growing together along forest edges and exposed grounds, the sprawling ferns are fast-growing which form large dense bushes known as thickets. Another species that looks similar and is often mistaken to be a Resam is Sticherus truncatus. It can be distinguished by its fully foliated branching while the branching of Resam species remain bare.

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Tamarindus indica

Tasty Tamarind

Did you know the Tamarind tree is the source of Asam commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking? Part of the legume family (Fabaceae), the tree can be found along the streets of Singapore. The mildly fragrant flowers are pollinated by insects and develop into bean pods. Within the fruit is the tasty pulp, prized for its complex and sour flavour, giving dishes their characteristic Asam taste. Outside of Asia it is a component in the renowned Worcestershire sauce. The Tamarind tree is hardy and long lived, making it an ideal urban tree. There are currently three individuals in Singapore that have been registered as Heritage Trees!

Tasty Tamarind
Phlegmariurus phlegmaria

A Fern or not a Fern?

Did you know the Common Tassel Fern (Phlegmariurus phlegmaria) grouped under Fern allies are not ferns at all? Fern allies or Lycophytes are the earliest group of seedless vascular plants with a wide range of growth forms. Fern allies are versatile plants, some even have the ability to survive desert conditions! Fern allies are identified by their small leaves or microphylls that come with a single unbranched vein whereas true ferns have megaphylls with complex, branched veinlets. Similar to most Lycophytes, the Common Tassel Fern produces cone-like structures at the tips of their stems known as strobili – these contain and release spores upon maturity.

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Video

Sunda Pangolin

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

Flora & Fauna News

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Rediscovery of Singapore Natives

Indian Abutilon (Abutilon indicum), a native shrub thought to be nationally extinct was rediscovered on Coney Island. Its subspecies, A. indicum subsp. indicum was found on Coney Island, an area predominated by Casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia) trees. Similarly, Cyperus dubius, a sedge rediscovered in various local coastal parks in 2022 was also found among Casuarina groves. Casuarina trees are known to release allelopathic compounds that inhibit seed germination, this poses a barrier for the survival of rare native species that share the same habitat. As such, conservative measures like selective replacement with non-allelopathic native species can potentially aid the survival and regeneration of these rediscovered Singapore natives.
16 May, 2024

Gesneriaceae Treasures - Vietnam’s Newest Finds

In recent years, several new species of flowering plants have been discovered in Vietnam, particularly in the far north and the Central Highlands region. Notably, four Gesneriaeae species have been uncovered, namely, lithophytic Allocheilos villosus with dense hairs covering on all parts of the plant, Didymocarpus tamdaoensis which is only known from one collection made at Tam Dao National Park, Didymocarpus dalatensis with downy stems and white tubular flowers, and Loxostigma vietnamensis which is endemic to the montane forest of Vietnam. These discoveries deepen our understanding of Vietnam’s rich biodiversity.
01 Apr, 2024

Identifying Pathogenic Fungi to Protect Mature Trees

A collaboration between NParks and researchers across Singapore has identified pathogenic fungi that attack mature trees in our urban landscape. The DNA sequence of tissue samples from trees with rot, the fungal fruiting bodies and surrounding soil were analysed for unique patterns associated to individual fungal species. By comparing the results with healthy trees, 17 fungal species that cause root and trunk rot in commonly planted tree species were identified. This information leads the way for development of early detection and intervention tools of fungal disease in trees.
03 Mar, 2024
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