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Plant of the Month
Valentine Hoya
Looking for a romantic gift for your valentine? Instead of a flower bouquet, consider gifting a potted plant which is equally beautiful and lasts much longer. The Valentine Hoya (Hoya kerrii) is named after its unique heart-shaped leaves. It produces small, waxy flowers forming a ball-like cluster. Valentine Hoyas are easy to look after and happy to be placed by a bright window at home or in the office. Water them only when the soil is slightly dry as the Valentine Hoya cannot tolerate waterlogged soils. Click the button 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?
Colour-changing magic
Commonly known as Butterfly Pea plant, the flowers of Clitoria ternatea is one of the key ingredient for the colour changing drink which is taking over the world by storm. Dried flowers are boiled to produce a blue solution, and it changes to purple when lemon juice is added! In traditional Peranakan culture, the blue pigment is also used for popular dessert like Kueh Salat. Butterfly Pea plant is widely cultivated in home gardens and the roots can improve soil quality by fixing nitrogen. Click on the button to learn more.
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What's Up?
Fauna News
Flora News
Saving Wild Coffee Species
There are more than 100 coffee species growing in forests but only coffee beans from two species – Coffea arabica and Coffea robusta are commercially cultivated. Scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England for the IUCN Red List Assessment found that 60% of the known coffee species are facing extinction. Although the coffee beans of many wild coffee species do not taste as good or for other reasons are not suitable for commercial harvesting, introducing their ‘wild’ genes into the commonly cultivated species can improve the genetic diversity for resilience, and resistance against climate change and diseases. This will enable future generations to continue enjoying this popular drink. Click here to find out more.
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