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Plant of the Month
A CNY Plant with a Mexican twist
Chinese New Year is around the corner and many people are decorating their homes with red or yellow blooms because of their association with good fortune and prosperity. When choosing your CNY plants, why not select plants suited to our tropical climate, so you can enjoy them long after the celebrations are over? One plant that is both beautiful and useful is Mexican Tarragon (scientific name: Tagetes lucida). This plant produces an abundance of small, gold-coloured flowers which will blend in well with your CNY décor. The leaves have a sweet, anise-like flavour which goes well with chicken, soups and spicy dishes. They can be used as a substitute for tarragon, but keep in mind that it has a more intense flavour and the quantity may need to be adjusted. The flowers are also edible and can be used in salads or as a garnish. To learn more about this plant, click on the button below.
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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?
Mistletoes in Singapore
The end of the year is here, and that means Christmas is near – and with it comes the mistletoes! Dendropthoe pentandra, tropical mistletoe from the family Lorantaceae is commonly found growing on trees and is an important caterpillar host plant for the Painted Jezebel butterfly (Delias hyparete metarete), which is also a fairly common sight in urban areas. On top of that, the plant bears attractive pink flowers which serves as a source of food for birds. Though mistletoes are parasitic plants, they do serve and play important ecological functions such as supporting the larval stages of the Painted Jezebel butterfly as well as providing a food source for birds.
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What's Up?
Fauna News
Flora News
Kew Gardens discovered more than 140 new species in 2015
More than 140 new species were discovered by researchers at Kew Gardens last year, including over 20 species in Myrtaceae (Myrtle family), and 25 species in Convolvulaceae (Ipomoea family). In Malaysia and Indonesia, five relatives of custard apple and ylang-ylang were found. The newly discovered species have potential uses in agricultural and pharmaceutical industry. Click here to learn more.
© 2013 National Parks Board, Singapore.