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Plant of the Month
Spleenwort - Growing Baby Ferns
Asplenium longissimum, also known as Spleenwort is a native of Singapore. It is from the same family as the Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus), this fern has very long fronds that grow up to 2 m long. Its spores are arranged in a long and slightly curved pattern near the main vein. Mainly propagated via spores, this terrestrial fern can also grow vegetatively, by producing plantlets on its fronds. Look out for small bulb-like structures that appear on the upper surface of the tip of leaflets. As these bulbils grow, they will develop a root system and can then be separated into individual ferns! These ferns can be found in some parks in Singapore, like Woodlands Town Park East. Click on the button below to learn more.
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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?
Hong Kong Orchid Tree – Bauhinia blakeana
One of the loveliest blooms to ever inspire a regional flag would be those of the Hong Kong Orchid tree or Bauhinia blakeana, which appears on the flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). First discovered by a Catholic missionary in the woods of the Pok Fu Lam area in Hong Kong in 1880, this species was named for Sir Henry Blake, who governed the former British Colony from 1898-1903. A natural hybrid between Bauhinia variegata and Bauhinia purpurea, this species bears fragrant, rich magenta orchid-like blooms that attracts butterflies and bees. Similar to many hybrids, the Hong Kong Orchid bears sterile flowers and does not set fruit. As such, this species can only be propagated via cuttings or air layering. In fact, all the trees in cultivation are believed to have originated from a single plant that was cultivated in the botanic gardens in Hong Kong. A popular ornamental tree, it can be planted in gardens, parks or patios as it grows well in full sun, and is also drought-tolerant. To learn more about this plant, click on the button below.
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What's Up?
Fauna News
Flora News
First seeds grown on the Moon!
Farming on the Moon may not be a fantasy anymore, as Chinese astronomers have successfully germinated cotton seeds inside a sealed biosphere, on the surface of the moon. In the past, plants were all grown on the International Space Station, but never on the Moon. This marks an important milestone as the ability to grow plants on the Moon can help in long-term space missions.
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