26 February 2010

Where are Nipah palms found in Singapore?

Teo Siyang and colleagues have provided the first comprehensive record of the distribution of the Nipah palm (Nypa fruticans) in Singapore.
From their recent paper, the palm is currently found mainly in the northern parts of Singapore, with most of the populations found in more brackish mangrove forest strips, further inland and away from direct exposure to pure seawater. In fact, the palm has been successfully cultivated in freshwater, such as at the Eco-Lake in the Singapore Botanic Gardens and at Kent Ridge Park.

The authors also highlight that some populations of the palm are threatened by ongoing reclamation at Pulau Tekong. But also make a positive note that the palms at Lim Chu Kang and Berlayar Creek will be protected in the near future with an expansion of the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and the construction of a mangrove boardwalk through Berlayar Creek as part of the Singapore Park Connector Network programme.

From the paper, I also found more about the little insects that I saw crowding about a blooming Nipah palm at Admiralty Park.
Nipah palm (Nypa fruticans)
This is the Asian Common honey bee (Apis cerana).
Nipah palm (Nypa fruticans)
While these are beetles and drosophilid flies.

The paper also consolidates many other interesting facts about the uses of this marvellous plant!

Download the paper from the Nature in Singapore website: Teo, S., W. F. Ang, A. F. S. L. Lok, B. R. Kurukulasuriya & H. T. W. Tan, 2010. The status and distribution of the nipah palm, Nypa fruticans Wurmb (Arecaceae), in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 3: 45–52. [PDF, 2.09 MB]

There is also a feature about the Nipah palm in NParks Buzz as part of their celebration of International Year of Biodiversity.

More about the Nipah palm on the wild fact sheets on wildsingapore.

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