Friday, November 12, 2010

The Total Vascular Flora of Singapore Online

I think that some of you, especially plant lovers might have notice this recent wordpress blog. It has been my intention to write a short post introducing it but I had delayed it till now, when the number of species have gained a substantial number, just over 500 species. As A had appropriately put it, our first milestone has reached. =)

This blog is the brainchild of KY, and a spin-off from his recent publication, “A Checklist of the Total Vascular Plant Flora of Singapore: Native, Naturalised and Cultivated Species”. So far, KY, A and I have been contributing to it.


Basically, each blog post contains information about a particular plant species. Eventually, they will contain their name, synonyms, statuses, vegetative and ecological characters, distribution and other information, like in our first two entries, Synogonium podophyllum, and Nypa fruticans. However, it is not an easy task to do the write-ups for every species; so for now, we are only uploading pictures and some basic information.

A big part of this blog are the pictures of the plants to help in identifying them. We have included, beneath each photo, the location, habitat and year when the plant was taken as a record. Short captions are also provided if you hover your mouse over each picture. Note that you have to disable the automatic preview mode first.

To facilitate easier browsing, one can search the index in alphabetical order, browse by their taxonomic groups (please read the page phylogenetic classification to see how the species are classified), or just simply type in the name in the search bar.

We have also included some useful links. Firstly, the Flora links some of the plant descriptions in their stated region. Two of the links, i.e. Flora Malesiana and Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak gives free PDF versions of their Flora. The rest are online resources where you can view their descriptions directly.


Secondly, the Pictures links some credible and easy to use, pictorial websites of local and region plants. The Plant Observatory, hosted by KH is probably the most comprehensive in terms of the number and range of pictures for each species. Next is the Plants of Southeast Asia, which in addition, provides descriptions. And of course, Joesph Lai’s companion guide to wayside trees of Malaya. Do check them out too.


This blog is still at its infant stage despite having about 1/8? of the total plant species in Singapore. This is because as mentioned, the lack of vegetative descriptions and other information. Not all species covered have comprehensive photos covering their defining features because of the lack in photos. However, since this is an on-going project, it will only get better with new pictures and information continuously being added, and old, blurred pictures replaced.

Of course, this blog is not possible without the help of many contributors who have helped directly or indirectly in helping to identify the plants and contribute photos. Unfortunately, we have not added them in the Acknowledgements page yet, will get to it soon. If you want to help in anyway, please tell us if have any suggestions, or spot any wrong identifications or information. Even better, you can help by contributing your quality photos. =)


ria said...

What an awesome resource! Thank you for creating this!

Sivasothi said...

Good job lads! Adrian and I have been using this for some IDs already. I half-prepared a description for Habitatnews but had questions, so this introductory post is great. Can you add this to an "About" tag on the blog?

Anonymous said...

How is that going to be different and/or complementary to NPark's Floraweb?

Siyang said...

@Ria: Thanks!

@Siva: Thanks too! Yup, it will be good to add a page describing it, perhaps adding to the current 'How to use' page.


To strip the two websites in detail will take me awhile. I will think that they are not complementary, but different because of their themes.

In my personal opinion, Floraweb seems to have a more horticultural focus to it. For some of its species with detailed descriptions, it seemed to include almost everything under the sun about the species, from vegetative and horticultural descriptions, taxonomic history, cultural value etc etc.

For our blog, it has a more focus approach on species identification, their national statuses, and other ecological descriptions. This is essentially, the Flora of Singapore, similar to some of the Flora links in the blog.

Kwek said...

@Anonymous: for starters, the flora of singapore online has bigger pictures!

Anyway, right now we're just posting pictures. We hope to put conservation and ecological information soon, plus some taxonomic characters for identification but in layman terms.

Ron Mylar said...

The thing you have said right such that everyone gives little details about the plants species but you have given all the major ones.

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