There's always something to marvel about around our lush landscape. Learn more of our blooming highlights in the Gardens!
Feature date: 15 Jan 2020
These huge, white, fragrant, trumpet-shaped blooms belong to the herald's trumpet (Beaumontia grandiflora) a sturdy, ever-blooming woody vine (liana) native to South and Southeast Asia.
Like many climbing lianas in the frangipani family (Apocynaceae), they produce follicles: large, dry, woody fruit which split along a single seam, revealing hundreds of seeds, each with a silky, parachute-like, tuft of hairs to catch the breeze and drift far from their parent plant. Our two fruits have been maturing for over a year and one is finally starting to dry and split! We'll save the seeds for propagation, but come find our spectacular planting of herald's trumpet spanning the railings of Meadow Bridge, near the Planet sculpture!
Beat the morning blues with these morning beauties! Native throughout the Americas, Africa, and India, the Slender Dayflower belongs to the spiderwort family, along with familiar ornamentals like the oyster plant (Tradescantia spathacea) and the wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina). As its common name suggests, this sprawling plant blooms in the morning, putting out flowers with two ear-like, blue petals and another smaller, translucent petal below them. Each flower is only open for a few hours and will wither by midday, so get up early to see these morning bloomers at the Floral Clock and Fruits & Flowers garden!
Don't you think these orchids resemble a flock of golden swans? The Cycnodes Super Swan has waxy, greenish-yellow, spicy-scented blooms, each with a gracefully curved staminate (male) column that, when viewed from the side, look like a swan's neck!
A man-made genus, Cycnodes is a hybrid between Cycnoches and Mormodes orchid. Two of the ancestral species of Cycnodes Super Swan, Cycnoches warscewiczii and Cynoches chlorochilon, are found in the Amazon rainforest. These ancestors confer the long, curved column trait: 'Cycnoches' means 'swan's neck'.
Find Cycnodes Super Swan at Cloud Forest's special ‘Orchids of the Amazon’ display!
This beautiful perennial is Acanthus mollis, a member of the Acanthaceae family, which also includes the familiar Popping Pod (Ruellia simplex).
Native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe and northwestern Africa, it can grow up to 1.5m in height, with a flower spike (inflorescence) over 40 cm tall and bearing up to 120 individual creamy white flowers. Its puzzling common name of 'bear's breeches' can be attributed to an English misrepresentation of the Latin term 'branca ursina,' or 'bear claw,' referencing its spiny floral bracts! The spiny-edged, lobed Acanthus leaves are also a little-known, if familiar design motif, crowning the tops of Corinthian columns--a key feature of Greco-Roman architecture.
Find the creamy white flowers of this varigated-leaf variety, Acanthus mollis ‘Whitewater’ blooming at the Mediterranean Garden in Flower Dome!
Native to Trinidad through Ecuador, including the Amazon rainforest, Catasetum pileatum has fascinating reproductive biology! Most orchids have perfect flowers with both male and female parts, but Catasetum orchids are gender diphasic -- a plant can produce male or female flowers, though almost never both at once! Male flowers develop most frequently in Catasetum, and in some species the male and female flowers look so different that researchers were fooled into thinking they were completely different species!
The male flowers of the Felt-capped Catasetum (Catasetum pileatum) are usually ivory-white with a yellow spot on the lip, whereas the female flowers (not shown) are yellow-green with a hood-shaped lip at the top! Shown here are the male flowers of Catasetum pileatum 'Jumbo Green', bred to have large, yellow-green male flowers. In the wild, jewel-toned male Eulossine bees visit the male flowers to collect scented compounds attractive to female bees, but as they do so, they often trip a tiny lever, shooting the pollinia out of the flower and onto the bee's back, in the perfect position for pollinating a female flower! Come see these amazing orchids at the Orchids of the Amazon display in Cloud Forest!
Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
Feature date: 11 Dec 2019
This unassuming yellow flower has an amazing fragrance! Native to Southeast Asia, Ylang ylang (say it: 'ee-lahng ee-lahng'; Cananga odorata) is most commonly found as a tree up to 40m tall, but a shrubby, dwarf form (var. fruticosa) with long, curling flowers is also widely planted. Night-blooming flowers on both forms grow increasingly fragrant as they mature from light green to bright yellow over a few days, releasing the most scent from midnight to 10am. People across South and Southeast Asia have been using these highly scented flowers as ornaments and votive offerings for centuries, but the Western world is perhaps most familiar with Ylang ylang as the primary scent component of one of the world's most iconic perfumes.
Can you guess the name of the perfume? Come to the last 'Of Seeds and Senses' walking tour this Saturday, featuring the sense of smell, and find out! Sniff the Ylang ylang in the Discovery garden and many other fragrant plants for yourself!
While vibrant poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) often have the Christmas limelight, they are not the only ones decorated in red this season!
Two poinsettia relatives, the Jamaican poinsettia (Euphorbia punicea) and the painted spurge (Euphorbia heterophylla var. cyathophora), also produce red bracts - modified leaves that resemble petals to attract pollinators. While the Jamaican poinsettia has bracts that are completely red, the painted spurge have crimson blotches on their fiddle-shaped leaves that appear to be "painted" on. Like poinsettia, these species are native to the tropical Americas, although the Jamaican poinsettia is only found naturally in Jamaica. Both species can be found throughout the tropics and subtropics of the world, with the Jamaican poinsettia introduced as a succulent, dry-garden ornamental and the painted spurge now naturalised in wastelands and open fields.
Find these poinsettia cousins at the recently relandscaped Floral Clock lookout in Secret Life of Trees at World of Plants!
This beautifully spherical flower head belongs to Neonauclea pallida!
A shrub or small tree up to 7m tall, this distant relative of coffee and ixora is also a member of the economically important Rubiaceae family. Resembling a pincushion, the flower head is packed with tiny, cream-coloured tubular flowers each featuring a pin-like, pure white style. ‘Pallida’ means "pale," referring to the flower colour, and like many other white-flowered plants, this species is moth-pollinated.
Native to Southern Thailand through Peninsular Malaysia, this plant is considered locally extirpated in Singapore, but you can find it in Fruits and Flowers at Gardens by the Bay, as well as along the pathway between Marina Gardens Drive and Dragonfly Lake.
Boasting the largest flowers of its genus, up to 7cm in diameter, this understated beauty is the Amazon Warczewiczella (Warczewiczella amazonica)!
A hot to warm-growing epiphytic orchid growing at elevations between 150 to 1,000 metres, it is native to the damp forests of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The solitary, lightly-scented flower is pure white except for the delicate purple streaks on its large lip petal. One of the world's biodiversity hotspots, the lowland Amazon rainforest is home to an unparalleled variety of life, including over 700 orchid species.
Come explore the exotic and beautiful orchids at the new Orchids of the Amazon display in Cloud Forest!
COMMON LANTANA (LANTANA CAMARA 'SPREADING SUNSET')
These glowing orange flowers belong to a cultivar of the Common Lantana (Lantana camara'Spreading Sunset')!
Native to Central America and the Caribbean, this spreading shrub is a widely-planted ornamental in Singapore, where it is also known as 'bunga tahi ayam' - literally 'chicken poo flower' in Malay, for the musky smell of its crushed leaves. Their attractive flowers, however, emit a tutti-frutti scent with a hint of pepper and change colours as they age. This cultivar, in particular, darkens from yellow to orange. Others bear a rainbow of colours with a palette of whites, pinks, purples and reds. Birds love the dark purple berries produced by the wilder, fertile plants, and the species has thus become naturalised and even been regarded as invasive in many parts of the tropics and subtropics.
Spot this 'Spreading Sunset' spilling over the planting beds outside of Cloud Forest, to the far right of the Friends of the Gardens Centre!
These delicate flowers of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) are the oft-overlooked precursor to chocolate! Like papaya or figs, the flowers on this short Central American tree emerge directly from the trunk and older branches -- a phenomenon called cauliflory.
Named Theobroma, or 'food of the gods', for the cacao seeds, which are fermented, dried, roasted, and processed into chocolate, another overlooked part of the plant is the fruit pulp. Reminiscent of mangosteen, the tangy, sweet, cottony, white pulp clings tightly to the maroon-coloured seeds and can be pressed to extract a fresh fruit juice. Want to learn more about our exotic edible plants? Visit our cacao trees in Colonial Garden! What’s more, sign up for our next 'Of Seeds and Senses' walking tour this Saturday, 9 November!
Creeping around a tropical forest on a dark and rainy night, you shuffle through the wet leaves. Something cracks loudly underfoot and a lightning flash illuminates the ground around you littered with bones! Meet the midnight horror (Oroxylum indicum)!
Native to the humid forests of East Asia, this partly-deciduous medium-sized tree has several creepy features. The leaf stalks (petioles) have bulbous ends that detach from both branches and leaf blades, leaving woody segments that look alarmingly like bones! Its smelly, purple night,-blooming flowers are pollinated by bats, developing sword-like seed capsules up to 1.5m long, alluding to another common name 'Tree of Damocles.' Visit the gardens this Halloween, and find this tree in Fruits and Flowers or Secret Life of Trees by its narrow trunk and bone-like stems beneath!
Certain plants are regarded with much superstition and in Southeast Asia, one such 'taboo' plant is the Singapore Frangipani (Plumeria obtusa).
Despite its common name, this tree is native to the rocky, sandy coasts of the Caribbean and Central America. Widely cultivated in the tropics, the fragrant white flowers bear several uses where, in Hawai'i, they are strung into flower garlands called lei, and in Cambodia, they are used as temple offerings. However, in much of Southeast Asia, the Singapore Frangipani is associated with death, as the hardy, low-maintenance trees are often planted at cemeteries for their white blossoms to fall on graves. The nocturnal fragrance of the flowers is also believed to be linked to spirits and may attract these supernatural beings at night. With all these superstitions, it's no wonder that many people in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia avoid having these trees planted near or in their homes!
Feature date: 16 Oct 2019
Named for the Greek words rodon, meaning 'rose' and dendron, meaning 'tree', Rhododendron is a genus of over 1000 species of late spring-blooming shrubs and trees, valued for their big, colourful bunches of rose-like flowers! Either deciduous or evergreen, most rhododendron species are native to the deep valleys of the Himalayas, but are also found across Asia, Europe, and North America.
The tall, stout, leathery-leafed varieties and species with larger flowers and 10 or more stamens are commonly known as rhododendrons, whereas azaleas refer to the shorter, thin-stemmed and leafed species or hybrids with 5-6 stamens. Spot the differences in our Rhododendron Radiance display in Flower Dome, then cross to the Cloud Forest to find their tropical Indo-Pacific cousins, the Vireya rhododendrons!
Catch over 80 varieties of these beauties at Rhododendron Radiance, from now till 28 Oct.
Native to the Indo-pacific, this short, shrubby tree has a sticky secret! The fruits of the birdcatcher tree (Pisonia umbellifera) bear ridges exuding a sticky substance and readily glue themselves to sea birds that roost around the tree, eventually dropping off to sprout on distant shores. Small birds, lizards, or insects may accidentally become entangled in clusters of the sticky fruits, to their demise, enriching the soil beneath the trees.
Strangely enough, this sticky substance is firmly stuck to the fruits and almost always peels off cleanly from fingers!
Masdevallia velifera is a small, epiphytic orchid species found in the high elevation cloud forests of Antioquia in Colombia. The species epithet is from the Latin word velifer, meaning 'curtain' or 'sail-bearing', referring to the wide, fused, lip-like lower sepals. It is also known as the veiled masdevallia, as the flower often faces downward, giving it an odd appearance. In order to attract its fly pollinators, this orchid emits a malodorous scent similar to stinky socks! Can you find their flowers which have yellowish-green outer petals and glossy brownish-purple lip-like petals? Haven't caught a whiff of our Scentsational orchids yet? Head over to Cloud Forest before the show ends on 13 October!
A large deciduous tree, Sepetir (Sindora wallichii) grows up to 50 m tall, with a wide spreading crown. It is distributed throughout the lowland rainforests and hilly dipterocarp forests of Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra and also native to Singapore, where it is an endangered species. Known in Singapore as the "Changi tree" an exceptionally tall tree of this species growing at Changi was used as a landmark on maps to mark the eastern approach to the Straits of Johor. This tree was felled in 1942 during WWII, for fear that the Japanese artillery might use it as a landmark. Find our Sepetir towering among the Supertrees at the Golden Garden.
Palms aren't usually associated with strong fragrances, but the male flowers of the Changkai (Borassodendron machadonis) have a surprisingly funky scent! Native to Peninsular Malaysia and southern Thailand, this rainforest palm is dioecious, meaning that the male and female flowers are borne on male and female plants respectively. Male flowers look like little pom-poms on thick, orange, flowering stems and emit a strong, musky odour. The seemingly scentless female flowers appear as bulbous knobs, and, if fertilised, eventually develop large, greenish-blue fruits. Find both male and female Changkai palms at the Supertree Grove, near the Heritage Garden lift, and in the World of Palms garden! Do be careful around these palms though, as the edges of their leaf-stalks are sharp enough to cut you!
Feature date: 11 Sep 2019
Leaves come in more than just green! Many plants, like these members of the Goeppertia genus have gorgeous leaves patterned in striking shades of greens, pinks, yellows, and white! Like most members of the prayer plant family (Marantaceae), their leaves lower to catch the sun during the day, and rise upward at night, allowing us to admire the different colours and patterns on both the leaf surface and undersides!
Want to see more? Join our brand-new, limited edition, 'Of Seeds and Senses' guided walking tours, starting this Saturday, 14 September, as we explore our gardens through the sense of sight! We'll show you some oft-overlooked visually-amazing plants! Every 2nd Saturday, we'll feature a different sense, starting with sight in September, then touch, taste, and smell. Come for all four!
Known as the Nun's cap orchid for its hooded white-backed flowers resembling the veil of some Christian nuns, Phaius tankervilleae is a large, terrestrial orchid native to the lower montane woods and grasslands in parts of Asia and Oceania. This orchid supposedly first flowered in captivity in the greenhouse of Lady Emma Tankerville (1752-1836), a British countess with one of the largest exotic plants collections in London, and was thus named in her honour. Find it in our collection, opposite the Scentsational Orchids display in Cloud Forest and just beside the wooden bench!
Commonly known as the many-spotted masdevallia, its species epithet comes from the Greek words poly ('many') and stictus ('spotted').
Found in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Andes at elevations of 1600 to 3000 meters, Masdevallia polysticta is a cool to cold-growing orchid that favours a damp environment. Its tiny, striking flowers emit a light, sweet scent. This species has many colour variations, currently in bloom is a purple-spotted white variant with long, yellow sepal tails. Find them at the Scentsational Orchids display at the Cloud Forest!
Winter is coming? We wish! This long, hot, dry spell in Singapore makes many of us long for the chilly temperatures and shorter days of autumn. The brilliant crimson young foliage of this red-leafed form of Thai Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia floribunda) only encourages our daydreams with a pop of (false) fall colour! Native to tropical southeast Asia, this Lythraceae member can get up to 35m tall in the wild and is famous for its crinkled, tissue-thin petals that fade from magenta to white. These juvenile red leaves will likewise mature to a dark green, so enjoy them flanking Serene Garden's waterfall soon!
Feature date: 14 Aug 2019
These orchid-like flowers belong to Pseuderanthemum andersonii, commonly known as Blue Twilight or Florida Twilight. These low-growing shrubs are native to the shaded hill forests of south China, and Southeast Asia, though Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. They are cultivated as ornamental plants for their continuously blooming bunches of three or more purple flowers that stand out above their dark foliage. Find these beautiful blooms lining the walkway from the Bayfront MRT exit to Floral Fantasy!
This heritage orchid is Aranda Singa Gold, a hybrid of Arachnis hookeriana and VandaBangkhuntian Gold, bred by Singapore Botanic Gardens. Singa means 'lion' in Sanskit, referring to Singapore, the Lion City. Orchid breeding takes a lot of patience! To produce a hybrid, a breeder selects two orchids with desirable features to be combined in the offspring. He or she transfers the pollinia (pollen sacs) from one parent to the stigma of the other and waits to see if a fruit or 'pod' forms. It may take up to 6 years to see the results, as orchids grow slowly from dust-like seeds to a flowering plant!
Look for Aranda Singa Gold near the entrance to the Flower Dome, alongside over 80 other orchid varieties starring in Our Singapop, this year's Orchid Extravaganza display.
Don't these flowers look like little people? This hybrid is named in honour of all Singaporeans! As red is one of Singapore's national colors, Renanthera Singaporeans seems to depict a multitude of Singaporeans with its attractive and abundant flowers. This beautiful hybrid is the result of a cross between Renanthera Kalsom and Renanthera Tom Thumb. In the wild, Renanthera species can be found in northeast India through Southeast Asia. They thrive in warmer climates, and produce multiple small flowers in branched inflorescences. Come check out and other amazing heritage orchids of Singapore in Flower Dome's brand new 'Our Singapop' Orchid Extravaganza display!
Polycycnis derives from Greek word, "many swans", in reference to the numerous flowers which arching columns resemble the necks of these graceful birds. The scented flowers are cream-white with brownish-pink blotches and the lip is densely hairy. Polycycnis trullifera flowers attract male euglossine bees that utilize scent compounds in mating displays to attract female bees and battle rival males. This plant is not common in cultivation, so be sure to catch ours in flower at Scentsational Orchids display in Cloud Forest!
No, this isn't a long-lost relative of Twoey from 'Little Shop of Horrors!' Cheekily known as 'hot lips,' the bright scarlet opposing bracts of Palicourea tomentosa hide small, yellow-green flowers that emerge from between the 'lips,' and if fertilized, develop into bright blue fruits!
This spindly coffee relative (Rubiaceae family) is a short shrub less than 2 m tall and native to the Central and South American rainforests. Look for these hot lips in the Secret Garden of Cloud Forest, under the bridge opposite the miniature orchid display!
While you're searching for the colourful Poison Dart Frogs, do admire our equally striking begonia collection, several of which are in flower! These begonia species are found in different parts of Southeast Asia, often in isolated populations on wet, rocky places, such as on cliffs near waterfalls. Many plant enthusiasts collect begonias for their interesting foliage; their flowers can be a much rarer sight albeit less colourful.
Most flowering plants bear perfect flowers with both male and female parts, but begonias have unisexual flowers that are either male or female. Male flowers have two to four tepals (similar-looking petals and sepals), while female flowers can be recognized by the winged ovary behind their three to six tepals. These flowers are usually white or pale pink with some species sporting red flowers, such as the Darth Vader Begonia (Begonia darthvaderiana). Can you tell which ones are spotting male flowers?
Spot these rare begonia species in the Poison Dart Frog Vivarium at Floral Fantasy today!
Members of the orchid genus Miltoniopsis are commonly known as ‘pansy orchids,’ as their wide, round flowers and boldly patterned lip petal create a striking resemblance to pansy flowers (Viola tricolor var. hortensis). This is Miltoniopsis Playgirl ‘Cha-cha’, a selection of the hybrid of Miltoniopsis Seine x Miltoniopsis Memoria Ida Seigel. Not only are its clusters of magenta and yellow-patterned white flowers a visual delight, they are also fragrant, with a kaffir lime and lemongrass scent reminiscent of Thai Tom Yam soup! These blooms are expected to last for weeks, so head down to the Scentsational Orchid display in Cloud Forest conservatory and smell them for yourself!
The Empress of Brazil is flowering at Cloud Forest for just the third time since being planted in 2016! An amaryllis relative and the only species of its monotypic genus, Worsleya procera is native to eastern Brazil, growing on steep granite cliffs where it is exposed to intense wind, rain, and sun. Cultivating this plant can be really tough, as it requires specific growing conditions to thrive and flower. Held above the equally-stunning, recurved leaves, the large flowers are brushed and freckled in deepening shades of lilac-blue toward their frilled edges. Step on the Cloud Walk to spot this rare beauty high on the mountainside near the end of the walkway above a profusion of anthuriums!
If you like piña coladas...well, this is the tree for you! Commonly known as Scented Daphne, Phaleria clerodendron is a small tree native to the tropical forests of Queensland in northeastern Australia.
The clusters of fragrant, white tubular flowers bloom directly on the trunk and branches, scenting the air with perfume reminiscent of pineapple or piña coladas. The bright red, glossy, egg-shaped fruits look alluring, but may be toxic. Native Australian birds, such as cassowaries, are known to feed on the fruits. Mainly cultivated as ornamental tree in Singapore, we have planted them extensively in our Fruits and Flowers and Understorey gardens, where they are blooming en masse!
Is there a delicious monster hiding among your houseplants? Native to Peru and Mexico, the Swiss cheese plant's huge, lobed, perforated adult leaves are now an iconic depiction of tropical foliage, decorating everything from pillowcases to plates! But few have seen it flower and fewer still sampled its delectable pineapple-banana-flavoured fruit, which its botanical name Monstera deliciosa ('delicious monster') and alternate common name, fruit salad plant, allude to!
Here are three rarely-seen stages of Monstera reproduction, all on the same plant at Supertree Grove! First, a pale-green immature inflorescence (foreground), matures into full bloom with a petal-like ivory spathe and columnar spadix, bearing multiple minute flowers (left), and eventually develops into a scaly fruit (right). Eating an unripe fruit will cause severe mouth and throat irritation, so wait till the green scales peel off before sampling the sweet flesh inside!
A close relative of mangosteen, Garcinia xanthochymus is native to tropical Asia, from India through Indochina. A small to medium-sized tree up to 15 meters tall, it is characterised by a pyramidal crown, large, glossy, oblong leaves, and yellow-orange, pointy-tipped fruits. Also known as 'sour mangosteen', the tart fruit pulp is made into jams or pickles and used like tamarind or lemon juice to add a sour tang to dishes. The species epithet xanthochymus means 'yellow sap', a trait common to several Garcinia species. Their resin yields a bright yellow pigment called 'gamboge', from the Latin name for Cambodia, where most gamboge was produced. Look out for this tree at the Meadow Carpark!
Feature date: 22 May 2019
Did you know that orchids can be scented too? Prosthechea fragrans, a scented orchid found in Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador, can be found in low montane forests. It is a warm to cool growing epiphyte which can thrive in an altitude of up to 2000 meters. Although its flowers are not as colourful as other orchids, it gives off a nice, and delicate scent. Do come and take a whiff of the different types of scented orchids at our latest orchid display in Cloud Forest- Scentsational Orchids! There are many different types of scented orchids showcased and you'll be surprised at what you'll get to smell there!