Trip to Botanical Gardens
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Trip to Botanical GardensJeremy Chia (14) & Rohith Srinivas (23)
Historical AspectsThe Singapore Botanical Gardens was first found in 1822 by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore. He was a keen naturalist which prompted him to establish the Singapore Botanical Gardens. After his death, without sufficient funding, the garden languished and was closed in 1829. The Gardens at its present site, which was founded in 1859 by an Agri-Horticultural Society, was planned as a leisure garden and ornamental park. The Gardens' first Director, Henry Nicholas Ridley, came to the Gardens in 1888 and worked tirelessly to produce rubber trees in the plantation for the next 23 years to usher the Gardens into the twentieth century and its most productive period historically. Beginning in 1928, Professor Eric Holttum, Director of the Gardens from 1925 - 1949, set up laboratories and conducted the first experiments in orchid breeding and hybridization.
Historical AspectsBy the mid 1960s, the Gardens was taking a leading role in the greening of Singapore. To meet the need for urban landscapes and recreational areas, the Gardens' staff became involved in supplying planting material and in plant introduction to increase the variety and colour in road side and park plantings. In 1988, a big leap forward occurred when Dr Tan Wee Kiat became Director of the Gardens. While the Gardens remained committed to its role in making Singapore a Garden City and meeting recreational needs, renewed focus on being a leading international institution for tropical botany was established. Excellence in botanical research, education programmes and preservation of the cultural heritage of the Gardens were emphasized. In June 1990, Singapore Botanic Gardens came under the management of the newly formed National Parks Board to bring it to the forefront of botanical and horticultural activity by the 21st century.
Logos Logo of Singapore Botanic GardensLogo of National parks Board
Interesting featuresThere are a few halls named after the previous directors of the Singapore Botanic Gardens suchas the Ridley Hall and the Holttum Hall. Furthermore, there are facilities for research andeducation. One of them is the herbarium which houses a main collection of about 650,000herbarium specimens, as well as a supporting spirit collection. The Herbarium collections mainlyinclude material from the Malaysian region (Peninsular Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei,Indonesia, the Philippines and New Guinea) and adjacent areas (East Asia, mainland SE Asia, theSouthwest Pacific), with the most extensive collections from Singapore and Peninsular Malaysiadating from the 1880s. Out of these, about 6,800 are type specimens. The Herbarium uses theBotanical Research and Herbarium Management System (BRAHMS) to computerize the plantcollection data.
Interesting featuresFor visitors to learn more about horticulture, there is the Library of Botany and Horticulture.With many interesting titles on topics such as Wildlife, Natural History, Conservation, Gardening,Health and Well Being and many more. The Public Reference Centre houses materials on botanyand horticulture for room use and reading within the library premises. Materials available areonly for reference and not for loan. Specially prepared sets of herbarium specimens are availablefor referencing. Books, magazines, and CDs on plants and the local flora, horticulture andlandscape architecture, with some attention given to animal life, conservation and theenvironment are on display. Dried carpological (fruit) exhibits, botanical artifacts, and exhibitionof rare books are also available. This library of the Singapore Botanic Gardens existed since 1875together with the Singapore Herbarium (SING). The Reference Library is one of the oldest inSoutheast Asia, with more than 30,000 journals, books (including over 4,000 rare books andbotanical illustrations), CDs, slides, audiovisuals and other media in its collections.
Heritage Tree SpeciesAdenanthera pavonina Family : LeguminosaeCommon name : SagaOrigin : Southeast China and IndiaSaga is a medium sized tree, which grows toabout 20m tall. It has a round uneven preading crown. Hardy and fast growing, it isdeciduous but sheds its leaves fully leaving abare crown. Flowers are small and star shaped,occurring in clusters and are light creamyyellow to orange , with a sweet fragrant smell.The tree flowers twice a year. Seeds areusually bright red, shiny and slightly heart shapedand are uniform in weight.
Heritage Tree SpeciesCalophyllum inophyllum Family : GuttifereaCommon name : Penaga lautOrigin : Coasts of Northern AustraliaA coastal tree, the calophyllum inophyllum, isa slow growing, long lived evergreen tree.Flowers are, small, white with a yellow centeroccurring in bunches. They have a sweetfragrance and open in the middle of the nightto be pollinated. Its wood is hard and strongand has been used in construction orboatbuilding . Active ingredients in the oil arebelieved to regenerate tissue, so is soughtafter by cosmetic manufacturers.
Heritage Tree SpeciesCeiba pentandra ( 80 90 years old)Family : BombaceaeCommon name : Kapok, White silk cotton treeOrigin : West Africa, tropical America, IndiaThis gigantic, deciduous large tree has tieredand horizontal branches giving it an openpagoda shaped crown. The inconspicuousFlowers are light yellow , whitish or pink witha milky smell. The fibre is light, very buoyantand resistant to water. It is difficult to spin butis used as an alternative to use as filling inmattresses, pillows, upholstery and stuffedtoys . The seeds produce an oil used locally insoap and that can be used as fertilizer.
Heritage Tree SpeciesFagraea fragrans ( Over 100 years old)Family : LoganiaceaeCommon name : TembusuOrigin : SingaporeA tall and impressive tree. It is hardy but slowgrowing. The evergreen tembusu can grow upto 25m. The large crown of light green leavesprovides excellent shade. When mature, itscrown assumes an irregular shape with severallarge branches. The light green leaves are ovalshaped with a leaf tip. Flowers are veryfragrant especially in the evening. The trunk ofthis tree can produce hardwood, and thiswood can be used to make chopping boards.
Heritage Tree SpeciesMillettia atropurpurea Family : LeguminosaeCommon name : Tulang Daing, Purple milletiaOrigin : MalaysiaA beautiful tall evergreen tree with a dense,dome-like crown. Leaves are a simple, pinnatecompound, with narrowly oblong pointedleaflets. The young leaves are edible withflowers that are inconspicuous. Mounted with dark red petals and purple sepals, it has arather unpleasant smell.
Heritage Tree SpeciesTerminalia subspathulataFamily : CompositaeCommon Name : Jelawai, MalayanterminaliaOrigin : West MalaysiaA gigantic tree which grows up to 50m inheight. It possesses spreading buttresseswith a wide conical, narrowly flat toppedcrown. The leaves are small, bluish greenunderneath and set spirally in rosettes.Fruits are flat and winged. Flowers are smalland inconspicuous.
Heritage Tree SpeciesSamanea samanFamily : LeguminosaeCommon Name : Rain tree, pukul limaOrigin : Tropical America introduced toSingapore 1876A lofty tree with spreading umbrella shapedcrown. The rain tree is fast growing and canreach a height of 25m with a crown spreadingjust as wide. The leaves are twice pinnatecompound with oval shaped leaflets whichhave the habit of folding at night or duringrainy periods. The pink flowers, with white stamens grow in clusters.
Tanglin CoreAmong the many attractions, one of them is the Swan Lake Gazebo. This gazebo is a Victorian castiron garden shelter. It stands proudly, overlooking the Swan Lake. The Swan Lake was added as afeature of the Botanic Gardens in 1866. Its landmark island with the big clump of elegant nibong palmshas become a timeless facet of the landscape of the Gardens. The pair of mute swans was importedfrom Amsterdam. As well as providing scenic vistas, the lake is an important water supply for theGarden. Another attraction is the Swiss Ball Fountain. The granite ball, which took Swiss sculptor Mr.Ueli Fausch three months to hand sculpt, measures 80 cm in diameter and weighs 700 kg. It fitsperfectly into a 3-tonne basal block. Away from the Swiss ball Fountain, there are 6 sculpturesdepicting different moments and emotions. The last attraction is The Sun Garden and the other treespecies. The Sun Garden displays succulents and other plants of arid regions. The Passing of Knowledgesculpture (2003) by local sculptor Victor Tan Wee Tar was presented by the Rotary Club of Singapore.There is also a Vanda Miss Joaquim garden there. The Vanda Miss Joaquim is our national Flower.
Central CoreThe Central core houses some of the most popular attractions. One of them is the VIP orchidgarden State Visitors and other VIPs named selected orchid hybrids after themselves. Next, there is a orchidarium where almost 400 species in 100 genera are housed. The Orchidarium islandscaped to simulate a rainforest to provide comfort for the orchids. Adjacent to the OrchidGarden is the Ginger Garden. It contains more than 200 species of gingers. The Ginger Gardenhas been divided into special zones where one may find gingers organized by themes such as beauty or usefulness, or regions of their origin. There is also a 6-hectare primary rainforest. It isthe only piece of original jungle left in Singapore! Not only rich in species, the Rainforest includesa wealth of species with economic importance. It is multi layered with herbs and ferns, shrubs,climbers and small, medium and large trees. The Evolution Garden at the Singapore BotanicGardens is a 1.5-hectare area dedicated to telling the amazing story of how plants gave us life, and how, long before we human