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Plant of the Month
Balsam - The Healing Beauty
As Mother’s Day is around the corner, it is time to start planning ahead to give our mothers a thoughtful gift to remember. Balsam (Impatiens balsamina) may be an old-fashioned plant, but it is still a favourite as it blooms continuously with colours ranging from purple, pink, red and white. It does well under full sun and loves plenty of moisture. This annual also grows very fast from seed and starts to bloom even when it is only a few inches tall! It has sensitive seed capsules that explode when touched to disperse seeds far from the parent plant. This plant has a lot of medicinal uses such as using leaf juice to heal warts and applying crushed flowers to burns and scalds to promote healing. Click on the button below to learn more.
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Animal of the Month
Tigers in Coney
The colourful Common Tiger is a common species in many urban parks of Singapore. Much like the closely related Monarch Butterfly, this butterfly sequesters chemicals in its host plants, thus defending itself against predators by making it unpalatable. A good place to see this species is the newly opened Coney Island, where these butterflies can be seen fluttering about the Coastal Meadows display in large numbers!
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Did You Know?
Tropical Cacti
When you think of a cactus, you might imagine a few prickly plants in a vast, sandy desert. Did you know that some cacti live in rainforests and are known as forest or jungle cacti? Jungle cacti are mostly native to tropical America. Many are epiphytes which live on another plant for mechanical support, but do not draw nutrients from them, while some are climbers with exposed aerial roots. Although jungle cacti grow in wet environments, they often experience periods of dryness, because their aerial roots cannot access soil moisture. Thus, they have waxy, leafless stems that help to reduce water loss to the surrounding air. One example of a jungle cactus that is easy to grow in Singapore is Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum). It produces large, white flowers with a strong, sweet fragrance. Click on the button below to learn more.
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What's Up?
Fauna News
Flora News
1,2, I Shut My Door!
Venus flytraps use their trigger hairs to signal their traps to close. When an insect lands on the trigger hairs more than once, the trap closes, digestive enzymes are released into the trap and the prey is turned into nutritious food. Researchers in Germany studied the process of how the trap works. Click here to learn more.
© 2013 National Parks Board, Singapore.