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Native plants in Singapore for children to know

Native plants refer to plants that develop in a specific area or ecosystem for more than hundreds and thousands of years.

Despite being a tiny nation, there are an estimate of 2,200 plant species documented to exist in Singapore.

Number of flora and fauna in Singapore

There are 4,671 flora species, 819 fauna species, 1,689 tree species, 109 tree families and 262 heritage trees documented in Singapore.

In the OneMillionTrees movement, 398,307 trees are planted in Singapore currently. The movement’s goal is to restore nature back into the cities of Singapore in the next 10 years. It is a key pillar in the Singapore Green Plan 2030, to transform Singapore into a City in Nature.

For the movement to be successful, the communities are encouraged to join and play an active role in transforming the cities in Singapore.

Location of the different native plants in Singapore

Native plants are found in nurseries and gardens in Singapore, which were nurtured by the Native Plant Squad (NPS), NParks volunteers, and researchers from Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Top 10 name of the native plants in Singapore

Native plants in Singapore are different with each species, named with a scientific name and a common name.

Aeschynanthus Parvifolius

The Aeschynanthus Parvifolius is known as the Lipstick Plant. The plant is named after its vibrant red flower buds that look similarly to lipsticks. It is a potted plant sold commonly in Singapore by the commercial nurseries.

The Lipstick Plant grows on other plants, weaving around the branches and trunks of the tree. The plant displays vibrant red flowers on the top, with thick leaves that are arranged tidily on its lengthy stem.

The Lipstick Plant needs to be watered routinely, good with lights that are beaming, indirect or the sun that has just risen in the morning.

Alpinia Aquatic

The Alpinia Aquatic is known as the Aquatic Alpinia or the Aquatic Ginger. It is a type of ginger that grows while being partially submerged in water.

The Aquatic Alpinia is found natively in areas that are swampy, or near bodies of water and streams. The flowers look small and pinkish-white on the tip of the plant, with fruits that are dark and purplish black.

The Aquatic Alpinia is able to tolerate dryness for a short period of time, which can be grown in shades partially or fully under the sun.

Cheilocostus Globosus

The Cheilocostus Globosus is known as Orange Spiral Ginger or Orange Crêpe Ginger. The plant was rediscovered by Dr Jana Skornickova (A researcher from Singapore Botanic Gardens) after it was thought to be extinct locally in Singapore.

The Orange Spiral Ginger is a relative of the ginger that is edible. It is simple to cultivate, grows rapidly in a short period of time, up to a height of 1.5 metres.

The Orange Spiral Ginger blooms sizable flowers that are bright in orange, which are near the ground.

Dianella Ensifolia

The Dianella Ensifolia is known as the Common Dianella. The plant looks similar to wild grasses when the flowers are not in bloom.

When the Common Dianella blooms, multiple tiny star-shaped flowers are sent out from the lengthy stem. The flowers are vibrantly blue-violet coloured, growing berries that are dark in cobalt blue.

The plant is shown to be adaptable to various types of environments. It is able to grow in different ranges of soil and light conditions.

Dillenia Excelsa

The Dillenia Excelsa is known as Simpoh Lak. The Simpoh Lak is a relative of the tiny Simpoh Ayer, which is known as the Dillenia Suffructicosa. The Simpoh Ayer is commonly used as a camouflage in military training.

However, the Simpoh Lak is a huge tree that has a columnar crown. The flowers bloom have a dark maroon coloured centre. Flowers may bloom even if the plant is 1.5 to 1.8 metres tall, which allows it to be grown in small gardens.

The Simpoh Lak is suitable for environmental conditions that have sunlight and water routinely. It is important to note that bees are often seen around the Simpoh Lak.

Freycinetia Javanica Flower

The Freycinetia Javanica Flower is related to Pandanus Amaryllifolius, which is the edible Pandan.

The Freycinetia Javanica Flower weaves on the tree trunks, large rocks and boulders. It is separated into male and female inflorescences, where the male inflorescence is more reddish-orange and attractive, compared to its female counterparts.

Ixora Congesta

The Ixora Congesta is known as the Malayan Ixora, or the Jarum Jarum. It is different from the hybrids of the same genus, as the Ixora Congesta are able to bloom with environments that have beaming and indirect light.

The Ixora Congesta is able to grow up to 1.8 to 2 metres high, while blooming multiple clusters of light to intense orange flowers in its blooming season. The name “Jarum Jarum” is a reference to how the flower buds look like needles before it blooms.

The Ixora Congesta is a good choice for people who enjoy seeing butterflies, since it attracts butterflies.

Hoya Latifolia

The Hoya Latifolia is known as Wax Flower. The plant was salvaged and contributed by Dr Michele Rodda, an expert of Hoya from the Singapore Botanic Gardens

The Hoya Latifolia has the biggest leaves compared to the other species of climbing Wax Flower, able to grow up to the size of a small dessert plate or an adult’s hand.

The blooming periods of the Hoya Latifolia occur during the monsoon period, which is the colder part of the year. The flowers are pale pink in colour, with a glistening look and smells fragrant. It is a simple to grow plant that can be potted.

Portulaca Pilosa Subsp. Pilosa (Race Tuberosa)

The Portulaca Pilosa Subsp is known as Seashore Purslane, the plant is a succulent that is native to Singapore. It is tolerant to salt spray and drought, easily found on the shores.

With environments that are ideal, such as well-drained soil and sunlight, the plant will grow big mats on the substrate.

Tarenna Fragrans

The Tarenna Fragrans is known as the River Tarenna, it is one of the most attractive species of plants in Singapore.

The flower of the Tarenna Fragrans is pleasantly fragrant, able to grow up to 2.5 metres tall. The plant is able to tolerate partial sunlight and completely out in the sunlight. During the blooming season, the plant flowers are lush. Therefore, covering the whole plant in flowers.

Flora of the month

The plant of the month is Chonemorpha Fragrans (Moon) Alston, which is known as Frangipani Vine, Akar Gerip Merah, Akar Gerit-Gerit Merah, Akar Gerit Merah or 大叶鹿角藤.

The family name of Chonemorpha Fragrans (Moon) Alston is Apocynaceae. The plant is a native climber, with flowers that smell pleasantly sweet and huge oval leaves. It is not a tree, and can grow up to 20 metres tall. Supports such as the Pergolas are good with the Chonemorpha Fragrans (Moon) Alston.

The flower of the plant looks similar to Frangipani (known as the Plumeria Obtusa), as it is flamboyant and creamy white.

I hope the information available helps you to understand more about plants in Singapore. As this article may serve as an aid to help you introduce the plants that are native to Singapore to your child.

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