Croc sighting? Don't fret, it's only a tree called Eye of the crocodile

Eye of the crocodile PHOTO: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD
Balsam Apple (Clusia rosea) – has adventitious roots growing from the branches PHOTO: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD
Johore Fig (Ficus kerkhovenii) – a strangling fig that usually starts off as a seedling on the branches of trees and produces roots that eventually forms a lattice that wraps around the whole tree and shading it out after the crown forms. PHOTO: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD
(Left) Sealing Wax Palm (Cyrtostachys renda) was once thought to be extinct from the wild in Singapore. It was recently rediscovered by NParks staff in a swampy forest patch in the Western Catchment. (Right) A 76-metre Sepetir tree (Sindora wallichii) once rose high above the relatively flat ground of Singapore. It was felled by the British in 1942 to prevent the Japanese from using it as a target for ranging of artillery fire during WWII. PHOTO: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD

Singapore's bountiful boulevards have helped it beat 16 other cities as the one with the highest proportion of green urban areas.

But its nature areas - a fraction the size of the built-up areas - hold as many trees as the urban areas, said Mr Lahiru Wijedasa, a former senior arborist at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Singapore has about two million trees, and of these, those growing along the road number fewer than one million, he noted. The rest are in forested areas such as the four nature reserves - Central Catchment, Bukit Timah and Labrador nature reserves as well as the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Here are some native trees found along roads and in nature reserves.

Yellow flame tree
Peltophorum pterocarpum

The drought-resistant tree is a popular choice for roadside planting. When it flowers, its fragrant, brilliant yellow blossoms cover the entire crown.

This can be seen along Yio Chu Kang Road and Sixth Avenue.

Sea almond
Terminalia catappa

The sea almond is a large coastal tree which grows up to 25m.

It can be recognised by its distinctive pagoda shape, formed by its tiered branching pattern.

This tree can be found along Changi Coast Road and at East Coast Park.

Eye of the crocodile
Bruguiera hainesii

Found in mangroves, this is a globally critically endangered tree that is native to Singapore, and 11 of the 200 specimens worldwide are found here.

It earned its name from the breathing pores on its trunk, which look like crocodile eyes.

These pores help the tree to take in oxygen in the muddy mangrove environment. SOURCE: NPARKS

Audrey Tan

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2017, with the headline Croc sighting? Don't fret, it's only a tree called Eye of the crocodile. Subscribe