Saturday, November 19, 2011

Do they really need to cut them down?

I was astonished (while retaining my usual bland expression) when A came back to the lab carrying a branch of Viscum ovalifolium, saying that some workers were pruning the Cratoxylum cochinchinense tree downstairs, and that he had took one of this mistletoe was had been removed from the tree.

Yup, Viscum ovalifolium is a mistletoe. They are semi-parasites, meaning that they penetrate their ‘roots’ into the host tree into their phloem only to absorb water and minerals from there. However, it can still photosynthesize and produce sugars by themselves, evident from their chlorophyll rich green leaves.


While I am happy to examine the specimen close up for once, I am unhappy to find out that all the remaining mistletoe was totally eradicated from its host tree the next day. The host tree was doing fine even with this semi-parasitic mistletoe leeching on it for many years.

The author of the new book on Singapore’s mistletoes, Francis Lim wrote that this species is ‘by no means common’. Indeed, this is probably the only locality that I have seen it. Its national status is common though, and that probably needs some updating.


Hope I am not sounding like a mindless tree hugger, especially after my recent complaint of tree cutting in the ST forum! I will probably apply mindless to those people who ordered these cutting/pruning actions instead. I am currently suffering now with glaring sunlight shining on my study table. I ache for the tree that has provided me ample shade for the past 20 years…

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Waterway @ Punggol

It was only two weeks since the launch of the Punggol Waterway but people are already flooding to experience this park with a newly created river which connects from Punggol to Serangoon Reservoir.


I was also there on a cycling trip with my friend. We were lucky to see many people attempting to fly giant kites in the shape of sotongs, jellyfishes, nemos, and octopi. Unfortunately, none of them got higher than a few metres.


The most amazing of the kites were these stunt kites. Each one was controlled by a single person, and they coordinated the graceful movements in synchrony with each other.


There were several murals on the walls depicting the history of Punggol.


A view of the walkway.


There is also another walkway on the 2nd storey with displays of vertical greening.


We found a caterpillar feeding on the leaf of the mangrove fern, Acrostichum aureum.


The park is also a great place for kids. There is a small area for water play. There were even two water canons!


And a big sand pit. You don’t find any playgrounds like this anymore in our neighbourhoods.


A suspension bridge~


And a nice shelter. Notice the old bus stop at the background. It was preserved to add some nostalgia for the visitors.


Lastly, a nice silhouette picture of a couple when the sun was setting.

In all, a very nice park for people to relax, cycle, jog, and play. Some parts of the waterway, were yet to develop, and I understand that mangrove-themed plantings will also be done at the eastern banks.

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