It's a treasure to spend time with Dr John Yong as I always learn so much from him. Today, he took time from his busy schedule to share astonishing insights into Mandai mangroves with Rick and I.
Dr Yong also pointed out this Ceropia tree, a non-native tree, which he highlighted could become a danger to our mangroves as it is salt tolerant. It could displace some of our native back mangrove plants. I found this recent paper about The distribution and ecology of Cecropia species in Singapore (pdf) with more details about the trees, which originally come from the tropical Americas.
Ant house plants (Dischidia sp.), the Critically Endangered climbing Kalak kambing (Finlaysonia obovata), climbers like the Mangrove wax plants (Hoya spp.) but most especially, mistletoes and the awesome Baboon's head! This is a rare ant house plant, there's more information in this paper Tuberous. epiphytic, Rubiaceous myrmecophytes of Singapore (pdf).
Bakau kurap (Rhizophora mucronata)! Rick and I had been looking for this and totally missed it. From Dr Yong, we learnt more about how trees can be tricky and look different depending on the conditions where they grow.
Tengar merah (Ceriops zippeliana)! Wah, I missed that in my wanderings. This tree species was first described by Dr Yong and his colleagues in 2009.
Nipah palms (Nypa fruticans) also tells us that more about the extent of erosion in a mangrove.
Buta-buta tree (Excoecaria agallocha)! A healthy mangrove will have many epiphytes. The lack of these may reflect a missing bird disperser or some other ecological imbalances. Next time I come with Rick, I'll have to drag out the long lens to try to take photos of these elusive plants.
Jeruju (Acanthus volubilis) which is distinguished by leaves which are not as prickly as the other species.
Mandai mangroves is a tranquil, magical place! Home to many amazing
mangrove trees and plants. The work done by Rick and many others will
hopefully go towards conserving it.
More about Dr Yong's 'blue' mangrove guidesheets with links to downloads on the Celebrating Singapore's Biodiversity blog.