Monday, July 30, 2007

Discovery @ Pasir Panjang Hertiage Trail on 28 July 2007

Eighteenth Discovery Posting:

(Entry @ 2 Aug 2007: Got the ID for third 'discovery', thanks everyone!)

Quick introduction: this event is one of the events of the Singapore Heritage Festival 2007, conducted by the RMBR (read on to find out what RMBR stands for) toddycats.

Nearly missed out this event when i read the calendar of events for the Festival, so would like to thank to someone for letting me know about this (too bad, you couldn't join us that day) =)

Anyway, as this was conducted by the RMBR toddycats, of course, we would be visiting RMBR as the first stop. What's RMBR? Observe the picture below to find out... and click here to read more about them.
And as we waited for the guide in RMBR to begin, i wondered around and took this (picture below) of several butterfly specimens on display.
Another thing which i thought i had to take a photo was this dodo (picture below). Let's make this the first 'discovery' of the trip.
Discovery Note:
1. The Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird that lived on the islands of Mauritius. It stood about a metre tall, lived on fruit and nested on the ground.

2. As with many animals evolving in isolation from significant predators, the dodo was entirely fearless of people, and this, in combination with its flightlessness, made it easy prey.

3. The dodo has been extinct since the mid-to-late 17 century. It is commonly used as the archetype of an extinct species because its extinction occurred during recorded human history, and was directly attributable to human activity.

4. By the way, the phrase "as dead as a dodo" means undoubtedly and unquestionably dead.

Side note:
To read more about the impact on the environment due to the extinction of the dodo, click here.

After a guided walk around the RMBR, we were splitted into 2 groups and headed started the actual trail. Here's a group photo of the group (picture below) that my friend and i was in.

By the way, everyone in the group was in the photo, but how did we managed to take this without another person helping us is something i would like to keep you guessing. =p
As we reached the end of the Kent Ridge Road, our guide then shared with us why the road was named Kent Ridge Road, the exact story is a bit long to be written down here, so i hope the photo i've taken (picture below) would give you a summary. Second 'discovery'.
Discovery Note:
1. This momentum was almost forgotten, it's thanks to Siva from RMBR (according to our guide) that this piece of history is not just another piece of rock along the road.

Very soon, we reached the second point of our trail, Kent Ridge park (picture below)
Do you know:
1. Bats can be sighted in this park usually after 7pm.
2. Bats are generally harmless and a certain fruit that most Singaporeans like is available due to them. Can you guess what fruit is it?
3. For more on bats, read a earlier 'discovery' on an event on bats at here.

The fruit is the Durian!

Here's a flower which i found it to have an interesting shape and structure (picture below). Anyone flora experts know what flower is this? Thanks!

I'll currently reserve this as the third 'discovery' so that if anyone could help me ID this, then i could do some research on it .

(Entry @ 2 Aug 2007: ID for this is the Cat's whiskers or Java Tea (Orthosiphon aristatus)Discovery Note:
1. When the flowers open, the stamens and pistil extend out far beyond the petals, creating the "cat's whiskers" effect.
2. Cat's whiskers is sometimes used as a medicinal plant. Its diuretic effect makes it a treatment for kidney and bladder problems. It is also reported to possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and possible anticancer effects.

As this was a heritage trail, stories about the different places and native flora were shared along the way. Fourth 'discovery' is a Tembusu tree, which is a native tree (picture below).Discovery Note:
1. Tembusus are very hardy trees which can thrive and bloom even under adverse conditions.

2. A long-lived tree, it can live up to 150 to 200 years. It can reach a height of about 25 metres.
3. Its wood is very hard and resistant to rot and termites. It can be used for making bridges, rafts, chopping boards, furniture, and house building.

4. This tree has been identified as a heritage tree of Singapore and is featured on the Singapore $5 currency note and in postage stamps.

What is this tree with the numerous cone like things on its trunk (picture below)? Oh, this is the kapok tree! Fifth 'discovery' of the trail (picture below).Discovery Note:
1. The Kapok tree is an emergent tree of the tropical rainforests, and is often described as majestic as it can grow to a height of 45 meters or more.
2. It is a native plant from South America.
3. The brown seeds are round like peas and are found in pods.
4. The seed pods are woody, smooth and pendulous, with a light green colour. They will burst open while still on the tree after the leaves have fallen. Inside a whitish cotton like fiber surrounds the brown seeds.
5. These white cotton like fiber can be used in pillows and mattresses.

Now is this tree sick? The bark of the tree seems to be peeling off... According to our guide, this is normal for this tree, the
Eucalyptus , fifth 'discovery' (picture below).
Discovery Note:
1. The tree is indigenous with a few exceptions to Australia and Tasmania.

2. The genus contains about 300 species and is one of the most characteristic genera of the Australian flora.
3. Eucalyptus trees are quick growers and many species reach a great height.
4. The leaves are leathery in texture, hang obliquely or vertically, and are studded with glands containing a fragrant volatile oil.
5. There are a great number of species of Eucalyptus trees yielding essential oils.

For more information, click here.

Sixth 'discovery' was a lucky find, as we don't usually get to see its flowers. Pigeon orchids (picture below)! A close up shot of the pigeon orchid (picture below)Discovery Note:
1. This is the most common epiphyte in the region frequently seen on roadside trees in Singapore.

2. The orchid resembles white pigeons and are sweetly scented.

3. This plant has narrow oblong leaves. The roots are produced at the base where it clasps the bark of the tree on which the plant grows.

4. The flower is strongly fragrant when it opens in the morning but fades by the afternoon. It is a pity that the flowers remain open for only one day. All the parts of the flower are delicate in texture and white except for the bright yellow spot in the lip. The flower is about 3 cm in length and 3 cm in width.

5. Though this lovely plant is small and delicate and looks fragile, it is quite strong and able to withstand harsh conditions.

By now
, you might be confused by the word 'epiphyte', so for my seventh 'discovery' is the meaning of...

Discovery Note:

1. Some sources say an epiphyte is a plant that grows on another plant but does not receive its nourishment from that plant.
2. Other sources say that an epiphyte is an air plant, which is described as a plant that does not grow in soil.
3. Both definitions accurately describe an epiphyte.
4. By the way, don't ask me on how to say this word, because till date, i'm still trying to say it correctly.. =p

As we walked on the boardwalk, a explanation on a plant was interrupted by a sighting of a bird which i forgot the ID, (poor memory i have), alas that i couldn't get a shot (photo) of it.

Anyway, eighth 'discovery' is a staghorn fern (picture below) spotted along the boardwalk.
Discovery Note:
1. This fern is an epiphyte.

2. The fern has two types of fronds.
3. The sterile fronds, located near the base of the plant, are round and flat. They begin pale green but turn brown and papery with age.
4. The fertile fronds are also pale green. They are the fronds that look like a stag's horns, and they hang down from the plant.

Last stop of the trail was Reflections at Bukit Chandu (Ninth 'discovery'), the picture you see below serves to reenact the scene in World War 2 when the Japanese attacked Bukit Chandu.
Discovery Note:
1. Reflections at Bukit Chandu is a World War II interpretative centre housed in a restored colonial bungalow.
2. Set in lush green surroundings amidst the picturesque Pasir Panjang area, it tells the tale of the Battle of Pasir Panjang on 14 February 1942 when 1,400 brave and valiant soldiers from the Malay Regiment chose to fight to their death against 13,000 Japanese soldiers.

3. The centre is a place for visitors to reflect upon Singapore’s heritage of heroism.
4. The presentation through artefacts, exhibits and multi-media invites visitors to contemplate about our nation’s war experience and to discover how far Singaporeans have arrived as a nation.

For more information on this heritage site, click here.

After a short stop over at the site, the trail came to an end.

Would like to thank our guide, Airani, for sharing stories on the different places and flora we saw along the trail, you're great! Thanks to all interested participants for a great time and my friend for accompanying me along. =)


tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

The flower in the 3rd discovery is called Cat’s whiskers (Orthosiphon aristatus). It's a popular medicinal herb in SEA, used for treating ailments of the kidney, bladder, blood circulation system, gout, diabetes and even rheumatism.

orang hijau said...

Your third 'discovery' should be the Orthosiphon aristatus aka Misai Kuching or Cat's Whiskers.

Sivasothi said...

See this webpage for more on Pasir Panjang Heritage.

dindon said...

Glad you enjoyed the walk, lucky it only poured after the tour ended ...

DreamerJuly said...

Thanks for the ID, everyone!