Plant Grouping
Forest Plants
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Non-native Plants:

Origin: America

The tree was previously thought to be another species (Cecropia peltata) until its actual identity was clarified in an article published in 2010. According to the article, this tree might have been introduced into Singapore in 1992 when the Singapore Zoo started to use this plant to feed the animals. It has large leaves that look similar to those from the Giant Mahang (Macaranga gigantea), which is a native tree. A large ground area is being covered when the aged leaves drop. This prevent seedling of other tree species from germinating, another offensive mechanism to fight off competition. The tree is highly invasive and large colony can be found in widespread area in some part of Singapore.

Origin: South America

This is a small shrub which is very hairy including the leaf surfaces. The flowers are white but the ripe berries, also full of hairs, are dark purple in colour. The soft pulp of the ripe fruit is sweet and edible. It is reported to be the only invasive plant species that have shown up and survive well in the midst of the rainforest in Singapore. It belongs to the same family as the more well-known shrub, the Singapore Rododendron (Melastoma malabathricum). In 2010, I found a very similar looking hairy shrub (Clidemia capitellata) around the edge of the forest which can be easily mistaken to be Clidemia hirta.


[1] Le C, Fukumori K, Hosaka T, Numata S, Hashim M, Kosaki T. The distribution of an invasive species, Clidemia hirta along roads and trails in Endau Rompin National Park, Malaysia. Trop Conservation Sci 2018;11:1-9. | Read article |