Fruit cousins in the wild

The National Parks Board has started to grow some of the native cousins of tropical fruits at its Pasir Panjang Nursery. Samantha Boh shows you some of the species found growing naturally in nature reserves here. Suitable species will be planted at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, parks or along roads, and will be on display at the Community Garden Festival next month.

Scientific name: Durio singaporensis


PHOTO: DEREK LIEW, NATIONAL PARKS BOARD

Common name: Singapore durian This plant grows up to 36m in lowland forests, and can be found in Nee Soon Swamp Forest and the vicinity of Upper Seletar and MacRitchie reservoirs. Its white flowers are pollinated by bats, while the inedible fruit can be propagated by seeds which are not covered in pulp.


Scientific name:Pometia pinnata 


PHOTO: BOO CHIH MIN

Common name: Island lychee, Fijian longan This native tree is found in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. It can grow up to 50m tall with spreading buttresses of up to 5m tall. Its fruits have juicy sweet pulp that resembles lychee.


Scientific name: Durio griffithii


PHOTO: ANG WEE FOONG, NATIONAL PARKS BOARD

Common name: Griffith's durian, Squirrel's durian, Durian burong This tree grows up to 18m tall and is related to Durio zibethinus, the only species sold commercially here. Its leaves are covered with white hair and coppery brown scales on their undersides. Its spiny fruits have tiny seeds covered with orange pulp at the base. They are eaten by animals like squirrels.


Scientific name: Mangifera foetida


PHOTO: CERLIN NG, NATIONAL PARKS BOARD

Common name: Bachang or Horse mango A tree from the mango family, it can grow up to 40m tall. It has fragrant pinkish or deep-red flowers, while its fruits are strongly scented and the flesh is used in curries, pickles and rojak, and to make chutneys. One individual is listed as a heritage tree in Singapore in Canning Rise. More can be found at MacRitchie Reservoir Park.


Scientific name: Sandoricum koetjape


PHOTO: SHI BIYING, NATIONAL PARKS BOARD

Common name: Santol, Sentol This tree can grow up to 50m tall with high buttressed roots. It produces yellow fleshy fruits with white juicy pulp surrounding three to five seeds. The sweet pulp is eaten raw or made into marmalade, candy and fermented beverages. One individual along Barker Road is listed as a heritage tree.


Scientific name: Garcinia atroviridis


PHOTO: ANG WEE FOONG, NATIONAL PARKS BOARD

Common name: Asam gelugor Belonging to the same family as the common mangosteen, asam gelugor is a tree that can grow up to 27m tall. Its beautiful glossy leaves are brilliant red when young, and its large ribbed fruits ripen from green to yellow. The fruits are used as seasoning or sour relish in cooking. The young leaves can also be eaten.


ABOUT THE COMMUNITY GARDEN FESTIVAL

The biennial Community Garden Festival returns for its second year at HortPark from Nov 3 to 5. It provides gardening enthusiasts with a platform to exchange tips and bond over a shared passion, as well as the opportunity to learn from experts and pick up bargains from the festival's marketplace. In addition to gardening plots set up by community gardeners, the festival will feature landscape displays created using edible plants, as well as tours, workshops and cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs. There will also be floral designing competitions and the Community Garden Edibles Competition.

DATE: Nov 3 to 5

TIME: 9am to 7pm

VENUE: HortPark

FREE ADMISSION

More details of the festival can be found at www.nparks.gov.sg/gardening/community-garden-festival

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2017, with the headline 'Fruit cousins in the wild'. Print Edition | Subscribe