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Plant of the Month
Refresh yourself with the Pomegranate!
Punica granatum, commonly known as the Pomegranate, is often grown as a potted shrub in Singapore. The many seeded fruits of the Pomegranate also symbolize fertility and fruitfulness in many cultures. In certain regions of China, the fruit is used during the wedding ceremony, as a blessing for the newly married couple to produce lots of children. The local Chinese population in Singapore, however, cultivate this plant as it is believed to bring protection and blessings to the household where it is grown. Apart from its cultural significance, the Pomegranate fruit also makes an excellent dessert - The fruit is rich in fibre, potassium, vitamin C, as well as antioxidants. Scientific research has shown that the antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice is three times higher than those of green tea or red wine. Pomegranates are in season now, so add a cup of juice to your diet! Click on the button for more information on this plant.
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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?
A new name for our national flower
Did you know that Singapore’s national flower has changed name? Formerly known as Vanda Miss Joaquim, taxonomists have reclassified it from the genus Vanda to Papilionanthe. Our national flower is now known as Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim, a hybrid formed by crossing the orchids Papilionanthe teres and Papilionanthe hookeriana together. This hybrid was named after Agnes Joaquim (1854-1899), the first person to successfully cross these 2 orchid species. Miss Joaquim was part of the Armenian community in Singapore, and she created the hybrid in her home garden in Tanjong Pagar in 1893. Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim was chosen as the national flower because of its bright colours, free flowering nature and ability to withstand difficult growing conditions. It is the only hybrid to be selected as a national flower.
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What's Up?
Fauna News
Flora News
Spring to Arrive Early in the USA
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison predict that spring will arrive about 3 weeks earlier in mainland USA by 2100 based on modelling studies. Western and west-central USA are likely to experience a greater onset shift than the rest of the country. While farmers may be glad to have an extended growing season, it could be bad news for migratory birds who use temperature-independent cues to time their journey and who may not find food when they arrive. Click here to see their study results.
© 2013 National Parks Board, Singapore.