Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Rare Mangrove Plants in Sungei Buloh

Two weeks ago when I was at Sungei Buloh, I was rather surprised to find 2 other species of locally critically endangered mangrove plant (meaning there are less than 50 mature ones left in the wild) near the mangrove boardwalk!

To think that I had been to Sungei Buloh so many times, and had lost count of the number of times I had walked on the mangrove boardwalk, and yet I had never noticed them until the trip 2 weeks ago!

Ipil (Intsia bijuga)
This is the Ipil (Intsia bijuga), a critically endangered back mangrove tree. I actually found 2 of them, and one of them was right next to the boardwalk. Both trees were quite young though, probably about 3-4m high. Not sure if they were planted by NParks or were naturally occuring ones. The timber from this tree is very durable and termite resistant, making it very valuable and excessively logged in some places.

Mangrove Lime (Merope angulata)
I also found a small Mangrove Lime (Merope angulata), again another locally critically endangered back mangrove plant. See how the fruits and flowers look like in my previous entry on Mandai Mangrove. The next time I come here, I am certainly going to keep a lookout to check if both of these plants are flowering or fruiting!

And I guess I really need to look around more carefully next time. I won't be surprised if I spot more rare plants near the boardwalk in future. Indeed, I have seen quite a few rare mangrove plants near the mangrove boardwalk so far.

Nyireh Batu (Xylocarpus moluccensis)
Nyireh Batu (Xylocarpus moluccensis) is an endangered mangrove plant that can be found near the mangrove boardwalk too. It was fruiting when I saw it 2 weeks ago, and the fruit was still there when I was there last weekend.

Nyireh Batu (Xylocarpus moluccensis)
Here are the flowers of the Nyireh Batu, which I took a few months ago.

Tengar (Ceriops tagal)
While the Tengar (Ceriops tagal) has only been deemed as a vulnerable plant in Singapore, I personally found it to be a lot less common than the Ceriops zippeliana that was listed to be endangered in Singapore. Basically if you walk around Pasir Ris mangrove, Pulau Ubin mangrove, and even Sungei Buloh, it is not hard to find that the latter is a lot more commonly seen than the former. Not sure how they actually come up with the status.

Tengar (Ceriops tagal)
These are the flowers of the Tengar tree.

Ceriops zippelian
Ceriops zippeliana can also be found not too far away from the mangrove boardwalk, though you probably need a long lens to see it clearly. Its propagules have red collars instead of the white ones found on the Tengar.

 Kalak Kambing (Finlaysonia obovata)
There were also a few Kalak Kambing (Finlaysonia obovata). This photo was taken in March this year, then it was fruiting. This back mangrove climber is also critically endangered in Singapore. See how the flowers look like in one of my previous entries on Sungei Kadut.

Barat-barat (Cassine viburnifolia)
Another critically endangered mangrove plant, the Barat-barat (Cassine viburnifolia) was flowering and fruiting too!

Barat-barat (Cassine viburnifolia)
Here are its flowers.

Brownlowia tersa
Another endangered back mangrove plant is the Brownlowia tersa, of which several patches can be found near the boardwalk.

Dungun (Heritiera littoralis)
Several Dungun Trees (Heritiera littoralis) can also be found near the boardwalk. This is an endangered mangrove plant.

Beccari's Seagrass (Halophila beccarii)
Right below the boardwalk on the muddy substrate, you can also find the Beccari's Seagrass (Halophila beccarii). While seagrasses are generally not considered mangrove plants, huge fields of this seagrass can be found in some of our mangroves. It's also listed as an endangered plant though.

I am sure there are other rare mangrove plants near the mangrove boardwalk, as I understand NParks have planted some of them. But unfortunately I need to see the fruits or flowers to identify some of them, and since these plants have not yet flowered, I had not been able to spot them.

But of course, rare mangrove plants were not just found near the mangrove boardwalk. These are some of the other mangrove plants found in the reserve.

Xylocarpus rumphi
So far I had spotted two young and one mature Xylocarpus rumphii in the reserve. This is the mature tree. Had been waiting to see it flowering, but never had the luck. This plant is also critically endangered in Singapore.

Xylocarpus rumphi
This is one of the two young Xylocarpus rumphii that I had spotted.

Sungei Buloh is one of the two places in Singapore known to have naturally occuring Tumu Putih (Bruguiera sexangula), previously thought to be extinct in Singapore. It was fruiting when I visit it last weekend, but was a little lazy to take photos. The flowers above was shot on an earlier trip. To see how the propagules look like, check this out.

Berembang (Sonneratia caseolaris)
I had also spotted a naturally occuring Berembang (Sonneratia caseolaris), another critically endangered mangrove tree. This photo was taken 3 months ago.

Gedabu (Sonneratia ovata)
And also a few Gedabu (Sonneratia ovata), also critically endangered.

Teruntum Bunga Puteh (Lumnitzera racemosa)
You also find the endangered Teruntum Bunga Puteh (Lumnitzera racemosa), which has white flowers.

Teruntum merah (Lumnitzera littorea)
The closely related Teruntum Merah (Lumnitzera littorea) has red flowers, and can also be found along Route 1 in the reserve.

I certainly look forward to spotting more rare mangrove plants at the reserve on my future trips :)

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