Sunday, July 8, 2007

Discovery @ National Library on 7 July 2007

Fourteenth Discovery Posting:

(Entry @ 12 July 2007: Got the ID for the unknown butterfly and flower. Thanks to 'Hexagilder' for the ID of the butterfly and Ron, CH and JH for the ID of the flower)

On the day of the triple 7, (070707), my friend and i went to visit the National Central Library for a guided walk around its Gardens around the building.

Here are some facts which were given to us:
1. There are a total of 14 gardens found around the library.
2. 5 of them are skyline gardens.
3. Only 2 of the skyline gardens are opened to the public. They are located on the 5th and 10th floor.

For first part of the walk, we were brought to the skyline garden on the 10th floor.

One of the first few plants, first 'discovery', which was pointed out is this White Sky Vine (picture below).
A photo of the flowers of the white sky vine (picture below).
Discovery Note:
1. This is a creeping plant as you can observe from the photos above.
2. This plant is mostly planted for ornamental purposes.

The second 'discovery' of the walk was a lotus banana (picture below). Notice the banana like objects near the bottom of the picture below?
A close up shot of the flower of the lotus banana (picture below)
Discovery Note:
1. As seen, it got its common name because of the similar look of its flowers to the lotus flower.
2. This plant is native to Thailand.

Very near to the lotus banana was the blood banana (picture below). Third 'discovery' of the day.
Discovery Note:
1. This is a native plant from Sumatra.
2. This is also known as the red banana.
3. Red bananas are smaller in size than a common banana and the peel is a deep red or purple. It has a creamy white to pink flesh, with a slight raspberry-banana flavor. The overall taste is similar to a common yellow banana.

Up next, our guide pointed out a torch ginger. The plant wasn't really distinguishable amongst the other plants due to its size, so our guide showed us a flower bud of the plant instead (picture below). Fourth 'discovery' looks like...

Clue? Some food we eat.
A photo of its very beautiful flower taken in Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve back in 2006 (picture below).Discovery Note:
1. The torch ginger is believed native to Sulawesi and Java, Indonesia.

2. The plant is now grown in many tropical locations both for the extravagant 'flowers' and for food. In Malaysia, it is called kantan.

3. It is one of the ingredients in Rojak!

Fifth 'discovery' looked very familiar, I've seen this somewhere before. Oh yes, Sentosa! This is the infamous Tongkat Ali! Discovery Note:
1. Do you know that 'Tongkat' means walking stick in English? Which makes the name of this plant to be the walking stick of Ali. :p
2. Anyway, historically, it has been used by the folk medicine in its countries of origin as a libido enhancer and to treat various sexual dysfunctions.
3. In simple terms, it makes a man more man.

4. It has been discovered that Tongkat Ali extract increases muscle mass. Thanks to this discovery, a growing number of Asian athletes and body builders now use tongkat ali extract as an androgen, to improve muscle size and strength, and to enhance sports performance.

What's that on the Tongkat Ali? A Butterfly~! (picture below) Sixth 'discovery'
! Note:
Till date, i have not been able to ID this butterfly. Its wing shape, span and pattern looks very like the Common Jay. But this butterfly had a yellowish macular band instead of a pale bluish macular band found on Common Jays.
Could anyone enlighten me on the ID of this butterfly. Thanks! Cause i've also been seeing this butterfly around our urban areas and housing estates, although not a common sight.

(Entry @ 12 July 2007: The ID of this butterfly is the Lime Butterfly, it's is a common butterfly in Singapore, and can be found as often around urban areas as well as parks, gardens and on the fringes of the nature areas.)

Seventh 'discovery' was a Oyster Plant! Hey, the shape really looks like an Oyster (picture below).

Another photo of the Oyster Plant (picture below)Discovery Note (information from Wikipedia):
1. This plant is also called the "Moses in the cradle".
2. The root is noted for tasting of oysters, from which the plant derives its name of Oyster Plant; young roots can be grated for use in salads, but older roots are better cooked, and they are usually used in soups or stews.

3. A latex derived from the root can be used as a chewing gum.

4. The flowering shoots can be used like asparagus, either raw or cooked, and the flowers can be added to salad, while the sprouted seeds can be used in salads or sandwiches.

A upward shot of the skyline garden
(picture below).Holes on the leaf? Is it due to caterpillars or insects? Oh, this is the Swiss Cheese Plant. Eighth 'discovery'. Discovery Note:
1. This is a tropical ornamental plant.
2. An adaption that this plant has to prevent insect attacks is that its leaves have holes on them, so as to fool insects to thinking that its leaves have already been 'invaded' by insects.
3. It has aerial roots growing downwards out of the stem and take root when they reach the ground.

4. Its fruit is high in vitamin C and potassium.

Ninth 'discovery' was the curry plant. Here's a shot of its flowers (picture below).
Question: Why is it called the curry plant?
Answer: Rub its leaves with your fingers for a while and smell your fingers afterwards. You'll know why. =)

Then after, we were ushered to the ground level of the library to take a look at the flora planted around its compounds.

Here's the tenth 'discovery', a tree fern' (picture below). Discovery Note:
1. In general, any fern that grows with a trunk elevating the fronds (leaves) above ground level can be called a tree fern.

2. Unlike flowering plants, tree ferns do not form new woody tissue in their trunk as they grow. Rather, the trunk is supported by a fibrous mass of roots that expands as the tree fern grows.

'discovery' is a plant (picture below) which ID that i have forgotten to take down. I'm not really a plant person. Could someone help?Discovery Note:
1. I do remember that this plant is pollinated by birds. So the greatest amount of species of this can be found in Singapore is in the Jurong Bird Park!

(Entry @ 12 July 2007: ID of this flower is Heliconia!, and by the way, a common name for this is the false birds of paradise, due to their similar look.)

Twelfth 'discovery' was a certain species of the Jasmine. Memory was really loaded at this point, so i can't really remember the exact common name of this species of Jasmine but here are its beautiful flowers (picture below). This was also a subject of a private 'smile' for my friend and i.

Reason? Hey, i said it was private, right? =p
Discovery Note (General Notes on Jasmines):
1. Jasmines are widely cultivated for their flowers, enjoyed in the garden, as house plants, and as cut flowers.
2. They are often strongly and sweetly scented.

3. The flowers are worn by women in their hair in southern and Southeast Asia.

4. Some claim that the daily consumption of Jasmine tea is effective in preventing certain cancers

So after about an hour and pointing out many flora found around the library, the guided walk ended back at the lobby where we started off. Would like to thank the guide (i'm sorry that i forgot your name, must really work on my memory soon) for pointing out some many flora which i didn't know and telling short stories about some of them, and of course my friend who accompanied me along this walk.

Side Note:
This is a free guided walk conducted in either English or Mandarin on every 1st & 3rd Saturday of the month.
Time: 4pm to about 530pm
Place: National Library (known as Central Library or the library in between the MRT stations of City Hall and Bugis)


tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

Yo :) that orange flower is a Heliconia sp. Not sure what's the exact species though, since I'm also not that much into plants :P


Hi July,

the Eleventh discovery is a Heliconia. :o)


Hi July,

that's Heliconia for your Eleventh discovery. :o)

juanhui said...

The orange flower which is ur 11th discovery is a heliconia.

DreamerJuly said...

Thanks Everyone!

RachLYM said...
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