Critically endangered trees

Trees in Singapore threatened with extinction

PHOTO: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD

KOPSIA SINGAPURENSIS

Conservation status: Critically endangered

This tree has "patriotic flowers" that bloom with a red heart surrounded by white petals. It can be found growing naturally in the Nee Soon Swamp Forest within the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. There are fewer than 50 known individuals growing here.


MARGARITARIA INDICA

Conservation status: Critically endangered

There is only one individual growing in Singapore, at the National University of Singapore's University Town. It was discovered in 2012, after surveys of the site were done. The species is a new record for Singapore. It is also the first plant from the genus Margaritaria to be recorded here. Saplings have been successfully propagated by cuttings.


PHOTO: PKF LEONG, NPARKS


ALSTONIA SPATULATA

Conservation status: Vulnerable to extinction

This plant can be found within the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Also known as the marsh pulai, it is common in freshwater swamp forests and can grow up to 25m tall.

It can also be seen at the Singapore Botanic Gardens Learning Forest.

Its latex can be used in medicine for sores and skin ailments, as well as for filling a tooth.

Its wood is commonly used for making household items, carvings, floats and plywood.

Its plywood is used for coffins in peninsular Malaysia, and for floats that are used with nets in Thailand and Indonesia's Sumatra.


PHOTO: ANG WEE FOONG, NPARKS


ORANIA SYLVICOLA

Conservation status: Critically endangered

This palm was thought extinct till it was rediscovered a decade ago. It can be found in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and there are fewer than five trees in the wild. A few fruits have been collected and successfully germinated.


PHOTO: ANG WEE FOONG, NPARKS


PARISHIA INSIGNIS

Conservation status: Vulnerable to extinction

Found in Central Catchment and Bukit Timah nature reserves, this tree flowers and fruits before the leaves sprout, and appears red against a backdrop of green.


PHOTO: ANG WEE FOONG, NPARKS

Audrey Tan

•Sources: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, NParks, Dr Shawn Lum

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2017, with the headline 'Trees in S'pore threatened with extinction'. Print Edition | Subscribe