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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?
Crispy 'Mushrooms'
Do you like the flavour of mushrooms but not their rubbery texture? If so, you might want to try growing the Mushroom Plant (scientific name: Rungia klossii). The glossy, dark green leaves taste like mushrooms, especially after being lightly cooked, and they are rich in iron, vitamin C and beta carotene. Raw leaves have a crispy texture and can be added to salads or sandwiches. As an extra bonus, the plant produces striking, light blue flowers arranged in short stacks near the stem tips. The ideal growing condition is semi-shade with moist, well-drained soil. It is a perennial herb which can provide a long harvest of 2 years or more when the leaves are regularly plucked. You might also share stem cuttings with friends which will root easily in moist soil.
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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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