Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rich Biodiversity@Punggol Wasteland (Part 1)

These are just some of the beautiful wild flowers that I found at Punggol on the first day of May - Labour Day. Read on to find out what they are. Thanks.

Time flies really. It has been about two months since my last visit to Punggol. I had mixed feelings when it was reported that the construction work of Punggol Waterway will start very soon (see here).

I reached there much early, hoping to indulge myself in the morning tranquillity on this "no-man's land".
As usual, some skippers zipping past me but I wasn't really interested in them as I was too anxious to check out the status of a very vulnerable species, No Brand Glass Yellow (Eurema brigitta senna), found primarily here. (An excellent write-up is here)

What a relief when I saw one tall and healthy host plant, Chamaecrista mimosoides (or Cassia mimosoides). It was used to be very abundant but now I could hardly any big ones.
I saw two individual females fluttering around this tall host plant, ovipositing a single egg in spindle shape on the upperside of the plant each time.

I wonder how many eggs will hatch and the larvae survive til adulthood especially a Lynx spider also laid her eggs on the same plant.
There are quite a number of Casuarina equisetifolia (Common Rhu) growing on the coastal sandy area . The needle-like "leaves" are not the true leaves, they are modified twigs. The fruits are oval-shaped and resemble small pine cones.
This tree can grow to a few metres tall, providing shade and support for other plants such as vines and climbers. Male and female flowers grow on different trees. The female flowers are in distinctive red but rather small and inconspicuous. Usually I would not take a closer look at this tree. I must thank the hot sun that forced me to take cover and quench my thirst under its shade, giving me an opportunity to notice this little orange beetle moving to and fro on a stem just above my head. Shooting overhead was a really a challenge. You see what I mean here - I got a funny shot like this. The beetle became a berry in this shot.Now, I remember Ria wrote an excellent blog article on this magnificent tree recently. Yes it is here and now I don't have to research more on this tree. Thanks.

Most of us know this prickly but beautiful plant, Lantana camara (Family : Verbenaceae). It was in full blooms but the bright and attractive cluster of flowers didn't attract any insects today. The florets typically change color as they mature, resulting in the inflorescence that are of different colours. This looks like flowers of Ageratum conyzoides which I obtain the identification from Plant Observetory - a very useful site for identifying the local plants. Thanks.
Another unknown plant to me was found everywhere especially on the sandy area (any help in identifying it is very much appreciated. Thanks). Just found out that it may be Spermacoce prostrata (Family : Rubiaceae) Here is a close-up shot of the flower head.
A hoverfly was almost "drunk" on the flowers.
After flowering, it seems that the whole plant would die. That's why we could see many dead plants and dark brown flower heads around here. This is what you would see when the many little tiny flowers begin to dry up.
Centrosema molle (Family : Fabaceae) is a vine with three leaflets growing from the slender stem. The pea-shaped flower is a bit hairy on the back. It was found not far away from the entrance to the trail.Clitoria tenata (Butterfly Pea, Family : Fabaceae) is a perennial herb, bearing vivid cobalt blue flowers. Though attractive, but I hardly see insects attracted to this flower, lacking of nectar I suppose.
The most distinctive part of this herbaceous plant, Physalis minima (Family : Solanacea ) is its lantern-like fruit. It is commonly found on open fields and wastelands.

Sida acuta (Family : Malvaceae) can grow up to about one meter tall. The stems are slender and fibrous and the leaves are slightly elongated with toothed margins. The flowers are quite small and yellow stamens are rather exposed, attracting butterflies and other insects.

Without any doubt, this soon-to-be-developed wasteland offers many floral and fauna species for us to uncover. A few years down the road, I hope this picture, though not well-taken, is good enough to bring back my fond memories of the beauty of the nature wilderness on this no-man's land.


  1. Wow, what beautiful and interesting plants and creatures! Certainly not a wasteland at all! Thanks for opening my eyes to them.

  2. Hey Federick, I had been to this place 2 years back to explore. Glad to know that it is still not developed yet!

    Also thanks for the introduction to the website as well as ID-ing the plant Physalis minima. Have been trying to find the name without luck.

  3. Friends this is not Physalis minima; its P. angulata

  4. If you wish to see real Physalis minima see link below

    1. Hi friend, thanks for pointing out the mistake and the link.