18 May 2009

Jelutong mangroves on Pulau Ubin

Mangrove mania grips when tides are not super low. A few of us decided to check out the mangroves of Sungei Jelutong on Pulau Ubin.
I heard that there are some special mangrove trees here and hoped to have a look at them.

Fortified by the obligatory Sunday-only Ubin-only Lontong at Pak Ali's shop, we headed out to the mangroves.
It is a glorious sunny morning, and the mangroves sure are lush here!
The spot has a little hut selling drinks, as well as an outdoor toilet over the water. In fact, that is how our van driver identified the location: "Ah, the place with the toilet". The toilet and planks leading to it was rather ricketty and none of us felt the urge to test it out.

There are great mangrove plants right next to the road. Among them, curtains of the rarely seen Hoya diversifolia.
I first saw the fallen flowers of these plants at Lim Chu Kang mangroves. The plant is listed as 'Critically Endangered' in the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore. It was nice to see such lush growths at Jelutong! There were several vines with what looks like buds ready to bloom soon.

Attempting to find a path next to the mangroves was a little challenging. One rather overgrown path leading to what seems to be an old kampung site, had lots of Mata pelandok (Ardisia elliptica) bushes.
They were in bloom! While I've seen these bushes planted in our parks such as at Sungei Api Api, these are probably wild plants! This plant is listed as 'Endangered' in our Red List.

While Marcus and Chay Hoon got busy with stick insects and spiders, bugs and flies, I tried to get to a little path on the bund. The path was quite overgrown and I had to get onto the mudflats here and there.
And encountered typical mangrove animals such as this Chut-chut (Cerithidea obtusa). These snails were (and may still be) eaten in Singapore. They are boiled and eaten by biting off the tip of the shell and sucking out the animal. Gross!

Among the tiny skipping fishes on the mud was this little fellow.
I'm not sure if it's a skinny Silver-lined mudskipper (Periophthalmus argentilineatus) because of the fine white lines on the sides, or the Dusky-gilled mudskipper (Periophthalmus novemradiatus) because it's so slender. Later from the road, Marcus saw the Blue-spotted mudskipper (Boleophthalmus boddarti) on the vast mudflats.

I gave up on trying to bash and started to head home. THEN, we discovered an easy path that led right into the heart of the mangroves!
It was wild with grasses and coastal and mangrove plants! It ran along side what seems to be abandoned prawn and fish ponds.
There were many unused sluice gates here and there. And this casualty by a small bridge.
We also encountered a couple doggedly fishing in the hot sun, at the end of the winding paths in these mangroves.

The mangroves were flourishing here. We also had glimpses of one bank of the winding Sungei Jelutong.
We saw lots of healthy specimens of the common mangrove trees: All three Avicennia species, many in bloom; lots of Xylocarpus granatum, Rhizophora stylosa and mucronata and plenty of Bruguiera cylindrica and gymnorrhiza.

Among the large trees was this curious climber.
It sure looks like Kalak kambing (Finlaysonia obovata) that I first saw at Kranji Canal. This climber is listed as 'Critically Endangered' on the Red List

We also came across this neatly deposited civet cat poo.
Chay Hoon said wryly "Coffebean and Tea Leaf". Haha! This is a rather convoluted nature guide joke which involves the world's most expensive coffee. Check out the full story here.

It got really hot as we wandered along the paths without any clue of where we were. Finally, we headed home and the path ended up at a fenced up area! Fortunately, the tide wasn't high yet and we could get past by going onto the shore.
Alas, the shores here are much affected by litter and large debris such as these abandoned tyres.

Just before we reached town, we came across a lovely stand of Bruguiera cylindrica growing among some rocks on the shore.
We had been checking out every mangrove tree along the way for flowering and so it was rather tiresome to see yet another Brugueira cylindrica with its typical backward bending sepals on the curvy often purplish propagules. But I thought these trees were rather handsome.

Next to these trees was two gianormous TREES of Chengam (Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea).
This plant is usually a small bush. This is the first time I've seen them as large trees. Awesome!
Chengam has fresh green fleshy leaves that generally have smooth edges. And pretty white flowers with petals that bend backwards.

Chengam is sometimes confused with Teruntum putih (Lumnitzera racemosa) which we also saw in abundance on our walk.
Teruntum also has thick leaves, but these are more spatula shaped and usually have scalloped edges. The petals of the white flowers don't bend backwards.

Although we didn't come across any super rarey mangroves, we saw lots of birds and other special plants (some of which I have yet to discover their identity, will post as I find out more). But it was an awfully hot day!!

Other posts about this trip


  1. The civet cat poo looks like Ardisia seeds. YVB



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