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Ethnobotany Garden at Singapore Botanic Gardens

18 Apr 2016

The Ethnobotany Garden will be located at the Bukit Timah Core of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, in an area historically known as the Economic Garden. It comprises four zones showcasing the traditional uses of plants by indigenous cultures of Southeast Asia – craft and construction, domestic, medicinal, and spiritual.

Ethnobotany Site Map

Location map of Ethnobotany Garden
(Courtesy of National Parks Board)

 

Artist’s impression of Ethnobotany Garden

Artist’s impression of Ethnobotany Garden
(Courtesy of National Parks Board)

 

Artist’s impression of shelter at entrance of Ethnobotany Garden

Artist’s impression of shelter at entrance of Ethnobotany Garden
(Courtesy of National Parks Board)

 

Craft and Construction

This zone showcases plants that are traditionally used in craft and construction. An example is the Ramie Plant (Boehmeria nivea).  Various Malayan and Indonesian tribes would extract fibre from its stems to make cordage (ropes or cords), or to weave into fabric to make fine clothing. Locally, its leaves are used to make the black version of ang ku kueh, a small round or oval-shaped Chinese pastry.

 

Artist’s impression of shelter at Craft and Construction zone

Artist’s impression of shelter at Craft and Construction zone
(Courtesy of National Parks Board)


Domestic

This zone consists of plants that are used in domestic living, culture and food. Among the plants featured are spices and herbs that are used in local dishes like the Langkuas (Alpinia galangal), Fragrant Pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius), Sawtooth Coriander (Eryngium foetidum) and Torch Ginger (Etlingera elatior), as well as plants that are used in the region such as the Seashore Bat Lily (Tacca leontopetaloides). The tuber of this plant is used as a source of starch in Indonesia.

 

Artist’s impression of shelter at Domestic zone

Artist’s impression of shelter at Domestic zone
(Courtesy of National Parks Board)

 


Medicinal

Plants used for healing purposes can be found in this zone. Many of these plants are grown as common landscape plants today, but they also have medicinal uses. For example, the Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum) is a native shrub and its leaves are used to treat diarrhoea. Another example is Platostoma palustre, used to make chin chow or grass jelly dessert, which is also used in Chinese folk medicine.

 

Artist’s impression of shelter at Medicinal zone

Artist’s impression of shelter at Medicinal zone
(Courtesy of National Parks Board)

 

Spiritual

Plants that are associated with spiritual uses include the Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) and Kemenyan (Styrax benzoin). These trees yield resin which is used as incense for prayers and rituals by Hindu communities.

Last updated on 09 July 2018

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