Monday, 4 July 2011
I am loving native plants at the moment. There is something distinctive about the look and feel of native plants in Singapore which I feel adds interest to any garden. Australia has an all out campaign to promote the cultivation and planting of native plants for conservation and environmental reasons. Whilst Singapore does not perhaps have the same dire reasons for such a campaign, I feel that the introduction, cultivation and planting of native plants into our gardens, pavement and wayside areas has many advantages.
A plant species qualifies as native if it has occurred naturally in a place over a very long time, and was not introduced or cultivated from other places. Because of this, they are naturally adapted to Singapore’s equatorial climate and will thrive well without unnecessary fuss and attention. The growth of such plants also contributes towards conservation, not only of Singapore natural heritage but also towards conserving rare or endangered species of plants which have been threatened by urbanisation and the invasive impact of exotic or alien species. Over and above that, native plants also attract native fauna like birds, butterflies and even animals such as the palm civet cat.
There are over 2000 native plant species recorded in Singapore. Out of this, some 81% have gone extinct or have become endangered. Only 19% can still be found commonly occurring in the wild.
So far, i’ve tried to plant as many native plants into the new garden as possible, either acquiring them through nurseries or through cuttings or seeds picked from the wild during some of my field trips. To-date, my collection are as follows:-
1. Tembusu (Fagraea fragans)
2. Paper Bark Tree (Melaleuca cajaputi)
3. Simpoh Ayer (Dillenia suffroticosa)
4. Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum)
5. Rose Myrtle (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa)
6. Rattleweed (Crotalaria retusa)
7. Stitled Simpoh (Dillenia grandifolia)
8. Cratoxylum cochinchinense
NParks has published an article about growing native plants in their newsletter My Green Space . Check it out!