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Species ID of famous ‘Changi Tree’ demystified!

05 January 2023
The species identity of the ‘Changi Tree’ has been shrouded in the mists of time until recently – using herbarium specimens collected from Changi in 1893, researchers from the Singapore Botanic Gardens determined that the famous ‘Changi Tree’ was likely Sindora echinocalyx. At 76 m tall, it stood out in the landscape and was featured in sea navigation maps as a landmark as early as the mid-nineteenth century. As the tree was located within military barracks, it was removed by the British army during World War II to safeguard against artillery attacks.

Newly discovered Hoya species of Borneo

15 December 2022
Botanists from Singapore Botanic Gardens and Bogor Botanic Gardens jointly described nine new species and one subspecies of Hoya occurring in Borneo. This adds to a total of 85 Hoya species in Borneo. Among the newly minted species, five are endemic to Kalimantan, which is the least explored part of Borneo. Though the discoveries were based on limited plant collections, the researchers are confident that these species are not part of any species complexes, therefore, they are less likely to be synonymised in the future.

Nurturing a new generation of plant scientists

14 November 2022
NParks has teamed up with local universities to develop new courses on plant science and diversity in Southeast Asia. Students will learn taxonomic and molecular biology techniques which are essential skills to the modern day botanist. Understanding plant systematics and evolution is crucial for plant conservation and the sustainable management of the region’s natural resources. This collaboration aims to nurture a new generation of plant scientists to safeguard the future of our tropical biodiversity.

Flora of Singapore – A revised checklist and bibliography

19 September 2022
For the first time in more than a decade, a comprehensive catalogue of the wild-growing plants in Singapore was published as part of the Flora of Singapore project. This publication was produced by a collective of researchers from around the world co-ordinated by NParks. The work highlighted the number of native, naturalised and casual plant species in Singapore and helped to clarify and opened discussions on taxonomic and nomenclatural issues, thereby shaping the future of local conservation efforts.

Rediscovery of Mucuna gigantea subsp. gigantea in Singapore

01 August 2022
Recent floristic surveys around Singapore have yielded interesting finds for the genus, Mucuna, including rediscoveries of previously thought to be extinct species like the Mucuna gigantea subsp. gigantea – A small population of this critically endangered vine, was rediscovered near the coast of the remote island, Pulau Brani, Singapore. This genus from the legume family is predominantly made up of lianas and known for the irritant hairs present on the surface of fruit pods. Mucuna gigantea subsp. gigantea was first described in the late 1900s and thought to be extinct due to habitat disturbances by land reclamation, until its rediscovery in 2018 . This has given researchers opportunity to thoroughly describe the species’ detailed characteristics, and allow collection of plant materials for propagation, with the aim of one day reintroducing the species into Singapore’s landscape.