19 December 2010

Creepy Kranji

A rare and special mangrove creeper grows among the mangrove trees that line the Kranji Canal.
Today I decided to check up on the area to see how the creeper is doing. I'm not sure why there is a line of floats across the canal.

Many of the mangrove trees here are draped with different kinds of creepers. The pretty Common derris (Derris trifoliata) was blooming, with clusters of delicate pink flowers. There were also a lot of Morning glory creepers with bright purple flowers.
Here's a creeper I've not seen before growing on mangrove trees. It looks like a kind of pea with very long pods.
Also scrambling up the lower branches of mangrove trees was this creeper with yellow flowers.
There were masses of this creeper with pretty white flowers but a rather pungent smell. I think it's the plant called "Mile-a-minute" that refers to its rapid rate of growth.
Finally, I spot the patch of Kalak kambing (Finlaysonia obovata) that I saw more than a year ago. It was blooming! But I couldn't spot any of the typical two-horned fruit. Most of the plant grew on the side of the tree facing the water. So I couldn't get a closer photo. The Kalak kambing seems less bushy than when I last saw it.
This is one tough creeper! It seems to even withstand being submerged. Probably the other creepers can't do this.
I found the other patch of Kalak kambing too. It also wasn't very lush and seems to be overgrown by other kinds of creepers. I didn't see any flowers or fruits on this patch. Kalak kambing is listed as Critically Endangered.
Creepers are not necessarily a good thing for mangrove trees as they can smother and overwhelm them. The fast growing 'weedy' creepers might even overwhelm the Kalak kambing. Oh dear.

There are lots of the common mangrove trees here. The Api-api putih (Avicennia alba) and Api-api ludat (Avicennia officinalis) were blooming. The Buta-buta (Excoecaria algallocha) had just bloomed. And there were a lot of Sea hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus), mostly in fruit, with some blooms.
Other interesting plants include a clump of Nipah palm (Nypa fruticans)!
There were some large Mangrove ferns (Acrostichum aureum) too. I saw several large water birds, probably herons, and a monitor lizard. But no luck with otters this time.
The grasslands next to the canal were full of wildflowers which attracted hordes of butterflies and other insects.
In the squelchy muddy footpath, some pretty purple flowers.
But I couldn't dawdle and had to hurry through the trip.

The properties on the edge of the mangroves seem dedicated to heavy duty industries. One had huge piles of dead heavy vehicles.
On the other bank of the canal, more gianormous industrial installations.
Some of the properties are crowded with untidy workers quarters.
Beneath the quarters, piles of rubbish. These eventually end up in the mangroves and float out into the sea towards other mangroves and shores in the area.
Further upstream, the mangroves dwindle out and the banks are clear of trees.
Among the lush and living mangrove trees, I saw at least 5 large dead trees. They were stone dead, without a single leaf.
The access route to the mangroves was fenced off! Completely. It would have been impossible to get to the mangroves if the gate wasn't opened.
Inside the gate, men were busy dismantling a large tentage area.
I made the visit quick so that I wouldn't be locked in! And indeed, just as I was leaving, the men were getting ready to leave as well.

The entire Mandai area has interesting pockets of wild places among the heavy industries that are found here. The railway line also runs nearby. Andy recently found the rare Beccari's seagrass (Halophila beccarii) at Sungei Mandai.

Hopefully, these places can be better appreciated.

2 comments:

  1. The long pods is indeed a pea plant Centrosema pubescens. The creeper with yellow flowers is Wedelia biflora. cheers : )

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  2. Thanks so much for the IDs Joe!

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