7 things you may not have known about Singapore Botanic Gardens

Singapore's Botanic Gardens is not just any other park. Here are some interesting facts about our national garden

The trunk of the Kapok Tree or White Silk-cotton Tree (Ceiba pentandra). -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
The trunk of the Kapok Tree or White Silk-cotton Tree (Ceiba pentandra). -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

SINGAPORE - Singapore Botanic Gardens has again been ranked the number one park in Asia in the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards for attractions. This is actually the second year in a row that the 74ha park has been ranked as such.

Here are seven things you may not have known about our award winning park:

1. VIP and Celebrity Orchids
The National Orchid Garden section of the Botanic gardens houses orchids named after the likes of Elton John, Jackie Chan and even Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela. More recently, Kate Middleton and Prince William were presented the Vanda William Catherine - a white and purple free-flowering orchid hybrid.
This garden is also lauded as the world's largest orchid display features over 60,000 plants and orchids.

2. Singapore's First Unesco World Heritage Site Nominee
The Unesco World Heritage Site nomination marks the gardens as a site of special cultural and physical importance. By being nominated, the Botanic Gardens will put itself in the ranks of sites such as Mount Fuji in Japan and the Taj Mahal in India.
You can pledge your support for this nomination here.

3. Oldest reference library in South-East Asia
The library is the one of the oldest reference libraries in South-East Asia containing 30,000 books and 41,000 rare books/journals and unique research papers/unpublished material. It was established in 1875.

4. Asia's first children's garden
Jacob Ballas Children's garden is the perfect spot for children to play, discover and learn about plant life. It opened on Children's Day, Oct 1, 2007.

5. Most popular park in Singapore
As the only historic botanic garden in Singapore and one of few historic landscape gardens on the island, the Botanic Garden is the most popular park in Singapore, with more than 4 million visitors a year. Visitors to the garden include a variety of celebrities and dignitaries ranging from Queen Elizabeth II to Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late Steve Irwin.

6. Pioneering site of the harvesting of rubber
Nowhere in the British colonies were the effects of economic growth and discoveries felt more than at Singapore Botanic Gardens through the pioneering work on rubber cultivation and techniques for tapping. This became a major crop that brought great prosperity to the South East Asian region in the early 20th century.
By 1917, the gardens had supplied over 7 million rubber seeds and encouraged plantation owners across the Malay Peninsula to grow rubber instead of other tropical crops - this underpinned the regions' early economic prosperity and gave it a significant place in the world commodity trading markets.

7. Home of the oldest ornamental water body in Singapore
It was constructed in 1866, shortly after the Gardens formation. It is considered to be the oldest ornamental water-feature in Singapore.
Home to numerous species of aquatic plants and fishes, the lake covers an area of slightly less than 1.5ha, with a depth of about 4m. The Swan Lake is named as such because of a pair of beautiful mute swans from Amsterdam that glide gracefully across the lake. These swans never fail to thrill visitors.

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