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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

Plant ofthe Month

Alpinia mutica Roxb.

The Orchid Ginger is a popular ginger plant for landscaping in Singapore. It has lovely orchid-like flowers that are white with a deep yellow lip decorated with dark red lines and spots, its round fruit are an attractive orange-red colour. When crushed, its lance-shaped foliage releases a spicy aroma similar to that of cinnamon and citrus. It grows well in Singapore under full sun and in moist soil.


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.)

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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.

Alangium ridleyi

Henry Nicholas Ridley

Did you know that Alangium ridleyi is named after Henry Nicholas Ridley, the First Director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens? His monumental contributions to the region’s botany, natural history, and economy in 1880s saw over 50,000 specimens collected from Singapore, Malaya, and the wider South East Asian region. He was also a prolific writer, publishing more than 4,000 new species over the span of his 68-year career; over 100 of which were new species described from Singapore.

Alangium ridleyi
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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Syzygium polyanthum

Our Native Spice Tree

Did you know the Syzygium polyanthum or Indonesian Bay-leaf is a spice tree native to Singapore? Found in tropical forests, this tree can grow to heights of over 30 m. Its aromatic young leaves are cooked fresh or dried in meat and vegetable curries and stews, and is commonly sold in Indonesian markets and by street vendors. The sour tasting fruit are edible when ripe. Besides its edible uses, a dye can be extracted from the bark and its timber is suitable for making furniture.

Our Native Spice Tree
Ocimum basilicum

Fragrant, sweet and everything nice

Did you know that besides the leaves, the seeds of the Basil or Ocimum basilicum are also edible! Basil seeds contain little carbohydrates but are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. When soaked in water, the seeds exude a gelatinous mass on the outside yet remain crunchy. Basil seeds can be added to beverages, desserts and confectioneries to add texture to refreshments.

Fragrant, sweet and everything nice

Sunda Slow Loris

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

Flora & Fauna News

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A new generic record for the native flora of Singapore

A specimen collected from Nee Soon Swamp Forest in 2005 was identified as <i>Pycnarrhena fasciculata</i>, a woody, dioecious climber. This genus was previously unrecorded in the Singapore flora. This Nee Soon specimen is important as the voucher for an unrecorded genus in Singapore's native flora, but also as the only available flowering specimen of <i>Pycnarrhena fasciculata</i> as the Type specimen does not have flowers.

15 May, 2023

The bat-attracting Palaquium obovatum

Studies in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia have countered the deduction that most Palaquium species are insect-pollinated when they recorded visitations by various species of birds and bats. A preliminary study conducted in Singapore Botanic Gardens have further supported this assertion with the discovery of another pollinator of Palaquium obovatum, commonly known as lesser dog-faced fruit bat (Cynopterus brachyotis). This bat species has been a well-known seed disperser of Palaquium obovatum and the prospects of an additional role as a pollinator has indicated a double mutualism between partner species. Further studies are required to study its feeding habits, and their role in wild populations of Palaquium species in Singapore.

03 Apr, 2023

A New Record for Singapore, Memecylon acuminatissimum

Singapore saw a new record through research done on herbarium material collected. Using five herbarium specimens collected from one or two trees from the Singapore Botanic Gardens and Chestnut Nature Park, it was determined that Memecylon acuminatissimum is an accepted species and not as previously thought, a synonym of M. oleifolium. This showed that vouchering living specimens is still vital for the recording of biodiversity in Singapore. This new record is also testament to the important conservation value of small patches of primary forests within urban environments, like Singapore.

01 Feb, 2023