20 April 2010

Special plants of Sentosa are fruiting!

Sentosa's natural shores at Tanjung Rimau edge a natural cliff cloaked in special plants.
Today, I was hoping the special mangrove trees there are fruiting.

When I was last on this shore in January, the big old Nyireh (Xylocarpus rumphii) was flowering. While small fruits have developed on this tree, there were few fruits. And some small fruits had fallen off on the shore.
Next to it is a smaller Nyireh tree. It wasn't fruiting. Instead, something seems to be affecting it, causing many of the leaves to curl up badly. Oh dear. Let's hope it's not serious as the Nyireh is Critically Endangered and there are not many of these trees left in Singapore.
This shore is a haven for the Critically Endangered Sea teak (Podocarpus polystachyus) with many large magnificent Sea teak trees here. These trees are tropical conifers or pine trees! And growing on the rocky cliffs of Sentosa, they remind me of Chinese paintings!
Like other conifers, while the Seak teak produce seeds, it has no flowers. Instead, it has reproductive structures called cones or strobili. Female plants produce a highly modified cone. The ripe seed is a swollen part of the stalk about 1cm long (the bluish bit in the photo on the left). Male plants produce clusters of cream-coloured cones which shed whitish, powdery pollen.
The wild Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) growing high up on the cliff was fruiting again, like it did in March last year. This plant is also listed as Critically Endangered in Singapore.
Another Critically Endangered tree, the wild Penaga laut (Calophyllum inophyllum) on this shore was flowering and fruiting too.
There were also tiny fruits on the Misi (Pouteria obovata) trees, which are so pretty with their coppery leaves.
I was very intrigued by a low tree with lots of fruits along its branches. But didn't see the bluish flowers until I got home to process the photos. This must be the Delek Air (Memecylon edule var ovatum) that Joseph Lai recorded for this shore! Awesome! This tree is more famously known from specimens at Chek Jawa.
Forest in the sea

This Sentosa shore also has lots of seagrasses forming good meadows in some parts. There is a patch of Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) near the Integrated Resort site. Alas, it seems this patch is being badly sunburnt, with large blacked portions on many of the leaves.
There is also large stretches of Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) and good growth of Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides).

And this patch of intriguing long-stemmed narrow-leaved seagrasses. Could this be the newly discovered Hairy spoon seagrass (Halophila decipiens)?
Here's more of the animals that we saw on this trip, including a special Galloping sea star.

Sentosa's shores are indeed teeming with interesting flora and fauna!

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