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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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Sat 26 Jun 2004

"Rare Trees of Labrador", by Joseph Lai

Category : nature

Labrador Nature Reserve, along with Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve are the first nature areas conserved by modern Singapore. Recognised as "national treasures that make Singapore distinct", thay are still places of discovery and will remain so for along time.

In May 2004, I encountered Joseph Lai at the park, looking at the plants, and he soon reported a new record of fern for Singapore, Tectaria vasta.

He now writes about "Rare Trees of Labrador - the subtleness and significance of extra-flora forms, textures and colours", by Joseph Lai. Earth, June 2004.

Excerpt - "There are a wonderful array of subtle forms, textures and colours in leaves, twigs and bark, that are not just artistic creations of Nature but also signature-characters for identification. And we can certainly draw inspiration from some rare trees at Labrador Nature Reserve."

"Take for instance, Rapanea porteriana - a once common tree of mangroves, coastal headlands and islands in Singapore. Due to the substantial lost of coastal habitats through land conversions in the past decades, their numbers had been decimated to the point of non-existence.

For the ardent botanical student, however, a single opportune tree standing on the lower slope of Labrador is waiting to be studied. Easily accessible by the sandy beach, look for the signature branches which sets the tree apart. Serpentine and wiry, the branches are stubbed with numerous inflorescence stalks throughout the year.

Look for a freshly fallen leaf next, and hold it up against the light. Tiny spots of light shine through the numerous oil glands which punctuate the leaf blade like minute lenses. This is a diagnostic character shared by many of Rapanea's member-species in the family Myrsinaceae. Similar oil glands can also be found in the leaves of the Orange Family, Rutaceae."

The complete article also features Merambong, Symplocos adenophylla, Seashore mangosteen and Saga hutan, can be read at Joseph's Earth webpage.

Posted at 12:45AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news