Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website


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
Chloranthus officinalis

Plant ofthe Month

Chloranthus officinalis Blume

Chloranthus officinalis, also known as Sambau Paya, is a small shrub which is critically endangered in Singapore. Sambau Paya was popularly used as tea in Indonesia before Camellia sinensis gained prominence as the ‘tea plant’ in the 19th century. Its flowers are used in China to impart a subtle smoky sandalwood aroma to tea leaves along with a sweet and refreshing aftertaste to create a distinctive scented tea.


Animal ofthe Month

Hylarana labialis

The Copper-cheeked Frog has an unusual call that sounds like dripping water. Found in Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves and their surrounding Nature Parks, this frog can be found near streams and water bodies. It is best identified by a large brown patch at its eardrum as it can come in different colours of green, brown and yellow.)

Did youknow?

Learn More
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.

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.

Learn More

Bred for bracts!

What could Bougainvilleas, Heliconias and some of the Bromeliads have in common? While Bougainvilleas may not bear any resemblance to the latter two, the answer is evident in the colorful ‘flowers’ – the most eye-catching, visible structures are in fact not flowers, but bracts or modified leaves that subtend the true flowers. The true flowers are often rather small in comparison to the bracts(or less colorful, in the case of the Bougainvilleas), and it is thought that these plants have developed the colorful bracts in order to better compete for the attention of pollinators and increase their chances at being pollinated. Gardening enthusiasts too are attracted by the colorful displays, and many new varieties and hybrids of these plants are being bred by horticulturists for more novel color tones and combinations.

Bred for bracts
Melocactus pruinosus

Desert Survival Techniques

Did you know why many cacti are spiny and ribbed? Most people know that the spines are a defense mechanism against thirsty herbivores craving a bite of their juicy stem. Not many know that these spines also shade the stem from intense sun rays and trap moisture from passing fog. In addition, their presence creates a layer of still air around the cactus which slows water loss from the cactus to the surrounding dry air. After a downpour, the ribs allow cacti to expand like an accordion to maximize water absorption, and then gradually return to its original shape as the stored water is depleted. The ribs also create additional shade to protect the stem from sunburn.


Flora and Fauna Tributes to Singapore

A total of 2053 vascular plant species have been recorded to be native to Singapore (Singapore Red Data Book, 2008). Of these at least 20 species have scientific names derived from "Singapore", their scientific names containing "singaporeana", "singaporeanum", "singaporensis", "singaporense", "singapurensis" and "singapureana". There are also others with common names that pay tribute to the country in which they are or were naturally found, such as the Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum). The animals are not to be missed either, with native fauna named after our island state, such as the Singapore Freshwater Crab (Johora singaporensis) and the Daisy Sponge (Coelocarteria singaporensis). As a novel way of celebrating National Day, read more about some of these Singaporean plants and animals on Flora&FaunaWeb by searching for their names.

Flora and Fauna Tributes to Singapore

Sunda Pangolin

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

Flora & Fauna News

View All

Plants for a Liveable and Resilient Singapore

Singapore's experience of growing plants in an urban environment was important in the creation of a liveable, sustainable, and climate resilient city. Horticulture programmes in Singapore like community gardens, allotment gardens in parklands, the Gardening with Edibles programme, and therapeutic horticulture programme contributed to the social imperative of cultivating community ownership of green estates, community ties, and interest in horticulture and gardening by offering distinct platforms for people to gather and engage with nature. These programmes also had the added advantage of promoting food security in the island nation.

06 Sep, 2023

Long-term Monitoring of Singapore’s Forests

NParks is leading the way to understand how landscape and climate changes will affect Singapore’s forests through long-term ecological monitoring. A network of permanent forest plots that includes nature reserves, nature parks, Mandai Forest, Nee Soon Swamp and historical research plots was identified for regular surveys of trees, birds and animals. Trees in these plots will be individually tagged and measured on a regular basis to monitor how tree growth rate and biodiversity changes over time. This baseline data will be used for early detection of potential threats to endangered forest species and evaluate whether strategies to improve forest resilience are effective.

28 Aug, 2023

Newly Discovered Merlion Orchid

Singapore saw the discovery of a new orchid species, the Claderia leontocampus! Researchers from the National Parks Board first encountered this species in 2020 during a routine survey and have since named it after the Merlion (“leontocampus” is Greek for Merlion). Previously, the only known species in Singapore from the same genus is C. viridiflora, which has bright green flowers that open one after the other on an inflorescence. However, C. leontocampus has unique pendulous, cream-yellow flowers with a narrow lip, its flowers open simultaneously on the inflorescence.

25 Jul, 2023