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Adenia macrophylla var. singaporiana
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Plant of the Month
 
Black Guava
Guava lovers accustomed to the white-flesh variety typically found in Singapore’s markets may be curious to know about Black Guava—a variety that produces fruit with dark reddish brown to nearly black skin and bright pinkish red flesh. This low maintenance variety is perfect for gardeners with limited space who want to grow plants that are both ornamental and edible. It reaches about 3-5 m tall in the ground and can still fruit in a large container. The young foliage is an attractive reddish brown, while mature leaves are olive green. The skin and flesh of the fruit are both rich in Vitamin C, especially when the flesh is still firm. The plant can be induced to fruit through pruning or defoliation which results in new lateral shoots where flowers, and later fruits, will form. Click on the link below to learn more.
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Animal of the Month
Common Palm Civet
The Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), also known as musang or toddy cat, is a nocturnal mammal found in both urban and forested areas of Singapore. This omnivore feeds on small prey and fruit and defecates viable seeds, making it a potential seed disperser. The excreted coffee beans occasionally ingested by this species of wild civet in parts of the Southeast Asian region are used to produce the world's most expensive coffee, kopi luwak. However, the reputation of this industry has been tainted by their reported cruel treatment of poaching and caging the palm civets. In Singapore, civets face the threat of being trapped or becoming roadkill due to the proximity of civet habitats to humans.
Interestingly, the secretions from its anal scent glands have been described as smelling like pandan, so if you ever smell pandan in an area without such plants, keep your eyes peeled for these shy creatures, recognisable by the presence of a black facial mask across their eyes. Find out more about this charismatic animal and celebrate its existence as Singapore’s last wild native urban carnivore!
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Did You Know?
 
The Tempinis Tree
Do you know that Tampines is named after the Tempinis Tree (Scientific name: Streblus elongatus) from the fig family (Moraceae)? The bustling housing estate in the east was probably named so due to the abundance of this tree in the area in the past. There are two very fine and old specimens of this tree in Singapore listed as “Heritage Trees” under the Heritage Tree Scheme – one in Changi and another at St. John’s Island. This bushy tree bears catkin-like bunch of flowers and is considered ‘Vulnerable’ in Singapore under the Singapore Red List (2009). The tree is also harvested for its heavy, strong and durable timber!
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What's Up?
Fauna News
Flora News
Genetic engineering to improve crop productivity
Researchers have genetically engineered plant cells to be more productive which could lead to higher crop productivity and thus, better food security in the future. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants capture the sun’s energy and store it in the form of sugars that are used to fuel plant growth. Blue-green algae are more efficient at photosynthesis than certain crop plants. Researchers transferred a simplified version of the blue-green algae’s photosynthetic machinery to plant cells which resulted in improved ability to do photosynthesis. Learn more about this breakthrough discovery by clicking here.
 
 
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