Friday, December 14, 2012

The Man behind Syzygium ngadimanianum

I take particular pleasure in highlighting a tree I recently found in MacRitchie which bears the name of the first forest ranger of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. His name is Ngadiman and the tree is Syzygium ngadimanianum - a relatively rare jumbol tree of the rain forest of Singapore and Malaysia.

Leaves and fruits of Syzygium ngadimanianum

Ngadiman was first to discover the tree in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in 1939. His two botanical collections of the tree provided H.R. Henderson type material to describe and publish the species as Eugenia ngadimaniana in his honour in 1947. It was subsequently revised as Syzygium ngadimanianum by I.M. Turner in 2007.

Ngadiman was first and foremost an invaluable plant collector and assistant to the likes of Corner and Henderson. He was primarily responsible for training Corner's famous monkeys to collect herbarium specimens of the forest trees. His fascinating career can be found in his biography linked here.

In his memory, I like to share with you some photos of the tree and its fruits and leaves, and also an old photo of the bridge which bore his name - Ngadiman Bridge - a concrete bridge spanning a small gully along the now defunct Tiup Tiup Trail of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Syzygium ngadimanianum, MacRitchie 2012
Smooth cracked bark
Close-up of green oblong fruit with tiny incurved calyx
Ngadiman Bridge (Tiup Tiup Trail, BTNR)


WK Tan said...

Thanks for sharing this bit of plant heritage, Joseph.
The link to the biography was very educational.
tan wee kiat

Joe Lai said...

Ngadiman studied in Tanglin Tinggi Malay Primary School. I did a search and found out that it was once located in Newton and sharing the same field with with Monks Hill School. If I am not wrong, Said Zahari, one of the longest serving political detainee in Singapore history, was a student of Tanglin Tinggi too.

Unknown said...

Finally found something about my grandfather after hearing his stories from my dad. Thank you so much!

fmds said...

Could it be? My Great Grandfather name is Ngadiman too..