Monday, July 18, 2011

Coralline Record in Singapore Botanic Gardens

It is the most unusual place to find corals - Singapore Botanic Gardens. Coralline boulders of all shapes and sizes, intact or fragmented, line the garden paths and flower beds even today. As is evident to me at least, these were used as decorative borders long ago at the infancy of the garden during the colonial days. Their numbers and the impressive size of some of these marine relics easily suggest a time when our island is surrounded by a most spectacular 'garden in the sea' brimming to the shores with livid corals of all sorts and harvested as readily available material for such purposes. I have found them similarly employed in Ss. Peter and Paul Church at Waterloo Street.

Such grand visions of pristine seas may be lost forever but if one were to be interested in the study of corals in Singapore waters, I think a visit to Singapore Botanic Gardens is a most invaluable trip to the past. Who knows, a never-before recorded taxa might be found amongst these relics. Taken at the microscopic level of enquiry, one might even find traces of micro-fauna entombed within the recesses of their silent calcareous walls. Her coralline record could certainly hold many secrets waiting your discovery.

For a start, you may want to venture down to Area G [photo above] where most of the corals can be found. It is nestled somewhere between Swan Lake and the car park of Ginger Garden. Two or three narrow stairways will lead you down to a lower labyrinth of narrower pathways bounded by relatively high walls of corals resembling limestone gullies where even the enigmatic single-leafed herb Monophyllaea horsfieldii (a limestone specialist) grows in the company of mosses lush and plentiful. [plant photos right below]

coral5coral6coral7coral8Monophyllaea horsfieldii plants

Monophyllaea horsfieldii flowers

Monophyllaea horsfieldii inflorescense

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