Beneath the dense canopy of larger trees, the understorey in a tropical rainforest is where light is dim and the shallow soil experiences rapid nutrient cycles. Here, plants and animals interact in a quiet battle for survival. At the Understorey at the Gardens, you’ll find these rather unique plants, so be sure to check them out!
The peacock spikemoss prefers shady, moist conditions and can quickly spread to create beautiful ground cover. So-named for its attractive, feathery leaves which are an iridescent bluish-green in summer and shades of red in autumn, this unusual shimmer is a possible adaptation to protect it from sudden exposure to strong light or herbivores that may consume it!
Unlike most green plants, the peacock plant is unique for its papery thin leaves patterned in shades of green, white and yellow, with a reddish-purple underside. Like most members of the prayer plant family, its leaves lower during the day to catch the sun and rise at night, resembling hands clasped in prayer.
The white batflower might look like any other plant when not in bloom. Its large broad leaves are a natural adaptation to capture as much sunlight as possible in the dark understorey. When mature, its intricate and exquisite inflorescence resembles a bat in flight. It has been said that its flower, by looking and smelling like decaying organic matter, helps to attract flies to pollinate!
Written by: Guan Zhifang, Assistant Manager, (Festivals & Events, Programming)
Zhifang is an events planner by day. She believes that slowing down in this fast-paced world is anything but lazy, so let’s breathe and take the time to stop and smell the roses!