02 August 2009

Mangroves at Mamam, Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin is already ready for National Day! With flags waving on Ubin Jetty in the morning sun.
This morning we explore the mangroves near Mamam.

Fortified with Ubin lontong at Pak Ali's shop with kopi (yumm), we head off through the forest trails.
Meandering trails lead us to the mangroves. A friendly dog leads the way then went off to do whatever doggy errands awaits him.
The mangroves today were draped in a profusion of pink blossoms of Common derris (Derris trifoliata). The roots of this plant is traditionally used as a poison to catch fish, in poison arrows and as a insecticide in gardens.
Another climber in bloom today were the Rotan tikus (Flagellaria indica). The tough stems of this climber is used in basket weaving and to stitch together attap roofing. The young leaves are used in hair-washing. The pretty fluffy flowers turn into bright red fruits.
Chengam (Scyphipora hydrophyllacea) were also blooming. The pretty pink flowers among the waxy green leaves turn into little white fruits.
Some of the Api-api ludat (Avicennia officinalis) were blooming and fruiting, while the Api-api bulu (Avicennia rumphiana) were heavy with fruits, and some Buta-buta (Excoecaria algallocha) were fruiting too. There were lots of tall Teruntum (Lumnitzera sp.) but they were all not blooming. I recall reading that plants in a habitat may 'take turns' to bloom so as to 'share' the pollinators.

As we wandered off the trail we came across parts of the mangroves that were thick with mangrove trees!
And here, the pretty Wax plant (Hoya verticillata) were in bloom.
In the forest trail, Chay Hoon spotted this pretty plant and later found out the name Cekuk manis (Sauropus androgynus). This native plant is often cultivated for medicinal uses. I only managed to take a good photo of the female flower. The male flower is flat and we thought at first it was the bit remaining after the fruit fell off.
Also in the forest, I came across the flowers of the Rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). Rubber trees are not native and were brought into cultivation in our part of the world from South America. There are lots and lots of rubber trees on Pulau Ubin. But this is my first time seeing their flowers. Thse flowers were on a tree that had fallen over.
There were also lots of pretty butterflies in the forest and in the mangroves. I have no idea what they are I'm afraid. Chay Hoon saw a beautiful damselfly that nearly killed her and many other bugs and insects.
Unfortunately, we had a heart-breaking moment during the trip. Heading past the sluice gate near the old prawn farms, we expected to spend a nice time exploring the mangroves there.
Instead, we found the mangroves had been cleared!
It looks like they are getting ready to restart the ponds there? You can see the difference between the uncleared area (trees on the right) and the area that has been cleared.
Here's a closer look at the dense mangroves next to the area being cleared.
Nearby, the mangroves still fringe the waters.
Machinery and supplies are stacked at the areas that are still thick with lush mangroves.
The works have affected some beautiful and accessible mangrove plants in the area. Let's hope the mangroves recover soon.

Another sad sight near Ubin Jetty. We noticed under the large Perepat trees (Sonneratia alba) at the beautiful rock pools ...
Lots and lots of drinking straws were washed up on the tide line. I have no idea why straws dominated the trashline today.
Marine litter is a never ending problem. Some of our friends have already started recces and preparations for the annual Coastal Cleanup Singapore effort in September.

There is much to be done to learn about and protect the magnificent mangroves of Pulau Ubin and on our other shores.

More about Pulau Ubin, how to get there and what to see and do.


  1. Wah.. Ria. Shooting butterflies these days too, eh? The ID's are, clockwise from left, Blue Glassy Tiger (Ideopsis vulgaris macrina), Spotted Black Crow (Euploea crameri bremeri) and Common Mormon (Papilio polytes romulus)

  2. Thanks for the IDs! Yah can't resist cos they are quite pretty. But my photos not as spectacular as Butterfly Circle's :-)



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