Monday, November 7, 2016

Journey's End with Ficus superba

I dedicate this poem to the ill-fated gentle giant of a veritable old tree Ficus superba of Tanah Merah (Limau Estate) woods.

Injustice truly for you to be felled. Thank you for letting me walk the last mile with you. But it is not the end for you and me. I have carried you to the mountain of Taiwan and planted a seed from my heart. When the wind blow I will hear you rustle above the eave of my conciousness.

Journey's End At Beitou Library

A scholar's balcony
Looks out from
A mother's heart
Embracing a fig bough
With her eave
Where a furry squirrel
Finds love and warmth.
There is a rhythm of rest
Fresh-breezy woody
Where beneath his perch
A sweet brook runs
With songs of loving kindness
From the mountain above.
A scholar's balcony embraces all
Not from knowledge
But from a heart that moves
His mind to the expanse
Of the universe
His home.

- Joseph Lai

Afternotes: innovation = knowledge + will + kindness. Our giant fig was killed by the lack of the latter two. There was simply no will for innovative development which could have preserved the tree in-situ. See how a giant fig in Beitou is respectfully preserved between a new 5-star hotel and an old hotspring bath.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Nephrolepis acutifolia

It was a day to have a potential last look at some beautiful old seawalls before they are torn down by the MRT development at Marine Parade Road but turned out to be a surprised encounter with a rare fern called Nephrolepis acutifolia. Thank you,  Stuart Lindsay, for pointing out my initial mistaken identification. It can be found on a rain tree at Marine Parade Road and a few locations such as Portsdown and SBG. Considered as an endangered species in Singapore. 

old seawall and gate
old seawall and steps
old ornated gate
Frond 1.5 to 2m long.
Pinnate frond
Sorus marginal; indusium running almost the entire length of both adaxial and abaxial margin of pinna. 
lanceolate pinnae
Can you see the sporangia peeping out from the knife edge of the margin?
Brown non-persistent scales at the base of stipes
Long slender stipes
Stipe and rachis grooved above
Wiry roots with green tips
Rain tree festooned with ferns
Young fern destined for Chek Jawa for planting
Watch this space: spores broadcast into the gaps of an old kampong stone wall in Pulau Ubin!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Appeal to Preserve a Giant Fig Tree at Limau Estate Neighbourhood

An appeal has been made to Minister Lawrence Wong and it is receiving attention from the authorities.

You can help. Please do consider nominating it as a Heritage Tree at the link here.

Endangered species: Ficus superba
LOCATION: Wooded area of Limau Estate opposite Tanah Merah MRT. designated as Land Parcel B by URA for development

A forest unto itself, this robust and healthy veritable giant stands at 25m tall and is
colossally-rooted with an impressive girth of 12m standing firmly on stable flat ground 7m
away from the edge of a 6m slope facing the MRT as a truly iconic landmark of Bedok / Tanah Merah.

Firstly, it offers little impediment to development as it sits right at the boundary of the parcel’s
extreme northern corner. Secondly, it is an endangered species in Singapore. Last but not
least, its magnificence is deserving of a heritage status that not only add tangible values to
the development but also retains the asset as a green lung to our community of Limau
Estate Neighbourhood and Bedok at large.

Impressive girth of 12m
Healthy robust tree on flat stable ground
A giant iconic landmark of Bedok
Its canopy is a forest onto itself
Approximately 25m tall
A photo montage for the good Minister Lawrence Wong