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N. Sivasothi,
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Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

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Mon 01 Aug 2005

Fruits of her labour - Lekowala's forest sojourn in June

Category : nature

In February this year (2005), SIngapore witnessed a mass flowering of many species of wayside trees. Thanks to Mr Miyagi, a 'sometimes serious' blogger who blogged his observations on 20 Mar 2005, some record of this remains in the blogosphere.

This almost simultaneous flowering of many species of wayside trees was mirrored in our forests. Thanks to the recently started and recently revived Big Trees blog, we know, from the blogsphere at least, that flowering in the forest was observed in early April 2005.

The phenomena of mass-flowering in forests is a synchronous display of flowering at irregular intervals ranging from two to ten years. It has been correlated with several factors in various forest plots based on dipterocarp trees such as the highs and lows of rainfall and temperature and the timing of the El Ni–oŠSouthern Oscillation (ENSO). Sometimes mass flowering is a local phenomena, and other times it has been observed on a regional scale. I think it was six years ago that I witnessed a rarely-flowering Keruing (Dipterocarpus sp.) flower in both Bukit Timah and Pulau Tioman in the same week and heard of reports likewise, elsewhere in the region.

Mass flowering eventually results in a large number of fruits appearing in the forest over several months. It is thought that this strategy of plants alternatively starves and saturates seed predators, resulting in better survival of the seeds.

In June 2005, Lekowala was pleasantly surprised to discover that many forest plants were fruiting and indeed many were still blooming as well. It added a rare dimension to his tree-top and forest walks and he graciously shares this with us through his June archives. Hope on over and discover the wonderful world of plants right here in our very own forests.

Posted at 12:47AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news