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Plant of the Month
 
Singapore’s Native Pitcher Plants
The June holidays are finally here! How about going for a relaxing walk in the nature reserves? You may see some native pitcher plants like the Nepenthes ampullaria, N. gracilis and N. rafflesiana. Nepenthes are carnivorous plants that form pitchers (modified leaves) to trap and digest animals like insects for nutrition. Each species has its own unique shape, size and colour of pitchers. They grow in secondary or swamp forests, coastal cliffs and can also be found in our nature reserves.
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Animal of the Month
Green Crested Lizard
The striking Green Crested Lizard (Bronchocela cristatella) is native to Singapore, and was a common sight in the past. However, its recent declines have been attributed to the introduction of the more aggressive Changeable Lizard (Calotes versicolor), which was first seen in Singapore in the 1980's. The Changeable Lizard is now abundant in managed parks and gardens, while the Green Crested Lizard is seen mostly in primary and secondary forests.
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Did You Know?
 
A palm that makes "chocolate"
Palms are usually known for their attractive form rather than their fruits. However, the Ungurahua Palm (scientific name: Oenocarpus bataua) produces black, olive-like fruits that are popular in Brazil. The oily flesh has a chocolate-like taste and is added to drinks, ice cream and popsicles. Oil extracted from the flesh is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, making it a heart-healthy alternative to other types of cooking oil. In the past, Amazonian tribes used to fry foods with this oil. The oil is also a good source of oleic acid which is useful for moisturizing skin and hair, and even treating dandruff.
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What's Up?
Fauna News
Flora News
Revealing world map of microbial symbioses in forests
Hidden underground, fungi and bacteria form symbiotic relationships with the knot of tree roots in forests. A new study involving more than 1.1 million forest sites and 28,000 tree species has peeled back some of the mystery of this hidden world and revealed factors that support 3 commonly found symbionts. The work could help scientists understand the role of symbiotic partnerships in structuring the world's forests and the influence of climate change on these relationships.
 
 
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