06 January 2011

Flora Singapura - a new resource on Singapore's plants

The first new resource in 2011! Flora Singapura aims to overcome "the terse technical descriptions" found in botanical texts. And instead describe the identifying field characters using photographs and commentary.
Awesome! This is just what ordinary wannabe botanists desperately need!

Uncle Tony O'Dempsey (who prefaces his website with the warning: "don't believe everything you read on the internet"!) indeed has lots of lovely photos and lively text that make you want to go out and look for these plants!

Uncle Tony's identifying characteristics are a god-send. Especially for those perplexing forest trees.

For example, to distinguish between the Common Pulai (Alstonia angustiloba) and the Indian Pulai (Alstonia scholaris), Uncle Tony says "simply select a fallen leaf, face the topside towards you with the stem pointing away, then run your finger along the topside of the stem. If you feel a small sharp stipule at the end of the stem, you have A. scholaris in your hand, otherwise if there is no stipule and the stem is more than 1 cm long, you have A. angustiloba in your hand."

Uncle Tony also includes lots of photos, which really helps explain what would otherwise be incomprehensible. For example, what is meant by the boat shaped leaves of Shorea ovalis.

At times though, Uncle Tony is a bit mysterious. For example, for the Simpoh Air (Dillenia suffruticosa), he says "The leaves have a small gap near the base that provides endless entertainment and relief to National Servicemen during deployments in forested areas."

Hmm...If you don't understand this, I'm afraid you have to ask your dad or your brother or any other Singaporean male who has attended National Service.

Uncle Tony also has recipes made using our local plants! But he reminds, we should never take plants from our Nature Reserves.
So go check out this wonderful new resource: Flora Singapura.

Thanks to the alert from N. Sivasothi on his Habitatnews blog.

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