07 January 2011

Flora Singapura - a new resource on Singapore's plants

The first new resource in 2011! Flora Singapura aims to overcome "the terse technical descriptions" found in botanical texts. And instead describe the identifying field characters using photographs and commentary.
Awesome! This is just what ordinary wannabe botanists desperately need!

Uncle Tony O'Dempsey (who prefaces his website with the warning: "don't believe everything you read on the internet"!) indeed has lots of lovely photos and lively text that make you want to go out and look for these plants!

I've learnt so much from his website. For example, that there are members of the Rhizopheraceae family that are NOT mangrove species. Some members of this family are found in our secondary and primary lowland forests including Fresh Water Swamp Forest!

Uncle Tony also shares interesting stories. For example, about the Penaga Laut (Calophyllum innophyllum) he shared that "A friend of mine once related to me how many years ago as a young girl she would play with her friends by jumping between the low horizontal branches of the Penaga Laut pretending that they were escaping the jaws of the Buaya Laut (crocodile). It seems that this childhood game has been instrumental in preparing her for adulthood where she has spent all her life escaping from the clutches of the Buaya Darat (“land crocodile”) and as a result she remains unmarried to this day."

At times though, Uncle Tony is a bit mysterious. For example, for the Simpoh Air (Dillenia suffruticosa), he says "The leaves have a small gap near the base that provides endless entertainment and relief to National Servicemen during deployments in forested areas."

Hmm ... If you don't understand this, I'm afraid you have to ask your dad or your brother or any other Singaporean male who has attended National Service.

Uncle Tony also has recipes made using our local plants! But he reminds, we should never take plants from our Nature Reserves.
So go check out this wonderful new resource: Flora Singapura.

Thanks to the alert from N. Sivasothi on his Habitatnews blog.

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