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Plant of the Month
 
Tree of the Sea
Mangrove Apple (Sonneratia alba) is one of the native pioneer species in the harsh saline condition of the mangrove habitat. A big tree that grows where the land ends and the sea starts; Mangrove Apple plays an important role in reducing wave action for other mangrove species to thrive. Unlike iconic mangrove trees like Rhizophora sp. which possess large propagules with small plantlet inside, Mangrove Apple has small floating seeds that germinate quickly. Resembling fireworks, the flower has pure white multi-stamens, which opens at night and are pollinated by bats. You can read more about it here.
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Animal of the Month
Spiny Spider
A type of orb-web spiders. Small and spiny spiders that build horizontal or slanting orb webs on shrubs and ground cover. Often with striking colours and patterns on their hardened abdomen, which may bear up to three pairs of spines around its edge. The photo here shows Hasselt's spiny spider (Gasteracantha hasselti) is common in rural areas and secondary forest in Singapore.
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Did You Know?
 
Bred for bracts !
What could Bougainvilleas, Heliconias and some of the Bromeliads have in common? While Bougainvilleas may not bear any resemblance to the latter two, the answer is evident in the colorful ‘flowers’ – the most eye-catching, visible structures are in fact not flowers, but bracts or modified leaves that subtend the true flowers. The true flowers are often rather small in comparison to the bracts(or less colorful, in the case of the Bougainvilleas), and it is thought that these plants have developed the colorful bracts in order to better compete for the attention of pollinators and increase their chances at being pollinated. Gardening enthusiasts too are attracted by the colorful displays, and many new varieties and hybrids of these plants are being bred by horticulturists for more novel color tones and combinations.
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