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Plant of the Month
Playing with Peas
With Singapore’s school kids on break in June, many parents are scrambling to find fun and educational activities to occupy their time. One idea that your kids might enjoy is sprouting pea seeds which they can proudly contribute to the dinner table. The pea plant (scientific name: Pisum sativum) is easy to grow and nutritious sprouts will be ready to harvest in less than two weeks from planting. In Singapore, the hot and humid weather is not suitable for growing peas to harvest the pods, because peas are a cool season crop which grows best at 15-24 degrees Celsius. However, pea sprouts are easily grown indoors, require little space, and are ready to eat 5 to 7 days after germination. They can be eaten raw or cooked, contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, and are a good source of folate and protein. Click on the button below for more information about the pea plant and click here for instructions on growing and cooking pea sprouts.
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Animal of the Month
Spider Conch
The Spider Conch, known scientifically as Lambis lambis has spikes on its shell and is seen near coral rubble areas at our Southern shores. It is listed as Vulnerable in the Singapore Red Data Book 2008. It was found in abundance in the 1960s but is now rare due to habitat degradation.
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Did You Know?
The Gelam Tree
Do you know that Kampong Glam derived its name from the gelam tree (Melaleuca cajuputi)? Kampong Glam was named after the gelam trees that were growing or planted in the area. ‘Kampong’ refers to village in Malay and ‘Glam’ (or ‘gelam’) is the common name for the tree Melaleuca cajuputi, a tree from the myrtle family (Myrtaceae). This tree has a distinct papery bark and has many medicinal uses. Kampong Glam used to be just by the sea and the gelam tree had many practical uses for boat building by the Bugis sailors! Although the gelam tree is extinct from the wild in Singapore, it still widely planted and cultivated in the urban areas of Singapore. You can even see some fine specimens planted in Kampong Glam!
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What's Up?
Fauna News
Flora News
Breakthrough in biofuel technology
The use of biofuels as an environmentally friendly alternative to burning fossil fuels is controversial. On one hand, plants are a renewable source of energy, while fossil fuels are not. On the other hand, the energy needed to produce and use biofuels may exceed that of fossil fuels and may also cause food and water shortages. However, a recent breakthrough may increase the feasibility of biofuel use. Researchers have genetically engineered a strain of yeast that can convert plant matter to biofuel at a much higher efficiency than those in current use. Click here to learn more.
© 2013 National Parks Board, Singapore.