Nature Walk Series
Central Catchment Nature Reserve
6 April 2012

Highlight:

The plan for this trip was to start at Venus Drive, walk along the tree-top walk trail, turn into MacRitchie Nature Trail and eventually exit at Thomson Road from MacRitchie Reservoir. There were two plants that I wanted to re-visit. One was an unknown tree seen at my last trip in late January which as likely to be a Glochidion species. It was flowering then and I was hoping to see the fruits this time round. However, there was no fruit but the tree was still flowering which made me suspect that it is a male plant. The other plant on my list was Ampelocissus ascendiflora, a climber with heart-shaped leaves. I had yet to see its fruit although I had seen its flowers back in 2009. Unfortunately, no flower or fruit again.

photoFortunately, the disappointment was short live. Around the same area, some unusual flowers from a shrub caught my attention. The flower petals had long whisker-liked feature at the tip. This reminded me of another plant with similar feature on its flowers, Corkscrew Flower (Strophanthus preussii). With this clue, it did not take long to identify it as Strophanthus caudatus.photo photophoto

A few minutes after this exciting discovery, I spotted a fruiting vine with just a few leaves about a metre off the track in the forested area. The fruiting bundle resembled that of species in the Vitaceae or grape family. [Update: Cyclea laxiflora from the family Menispermaceae] Some white oval-shaped fruits can be seen on the bundle while the rest of the fruiting buds were very tiny. The far right picture above showed the close-up view of the fruiting buds. I cannot be sure whether these tiny buds were flowers or something else.

photophotoAlong the MacRitchie Nature Trail, there was a number of Fan Palm (Licuala ferruginea) by the side of the track. While examining leaf of one of the palm, a mid-size creature flew off from the palm leaf and landed on a bush across the track. It turned out to be a stick insect. This was the second time that I saw such insect in the wild. The first time was at the BTNR last year.

Midway through the trail, the sky started to turn dark and thunder can be heard from far, a sign that rain was coming. I continued to push on while the lighting condition got worse.
photophoto In the all-green surrounding, something in bright blue colour stood out from a shrub. Blue flowers may be common but blue colour fruit was hard to come by. At first, I thought it was Saprosma glomerulatum that I saw many years back at BTNR. Later, when I compared the pictures, they do not look the same. Then, I recalled another shrub with blue fruit that I had seen its picture in the past. This led me to Lasianthus attenuatus.

photophoto photoFinally, the rain caught up with me. I had to battle the downpour in the last one hour of the walk with a miserable umbrella that did not offer much protection from the rain water. In the end, everything was wet though I managed to keep my camera dry.

The last plant I examined prior to crossing path with the storm was this unknown shrub that looked like a Macaranga species. Its unique feature was a pair of tiny leaflet at the base of each leaf, where the leaf joined the leaf stalk. It had started to bear flowers but they were too tiny to be clearly seen even when I enlarged the picture. [Update: Alchornea tiliifolia]

photophotoThe only set of pictures that I took in the rain was these usual mushrooms with an opening at the top. There were around 10 of them flourishing on a few decaying log at the side of the track. I had seen these mushrooms at a different location last year but was still not able to find its name. The closest I can get was cup fungi of the family Sarcoscyphaceae or Pezizaceae under the order Pezizales. [Update: Galiella rufa (Rubber Cap Mushroom) from the family Sarcosomataceae]

I will return at some other time to survey the part that I had missed due to the rain.

Photo Gallery:

Below are selected photos from this trip arranged according to the sequence that they were taken. There is a text link under the photo that will direct you to more photos of the same species if they are available in my website.

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Unknown Flower Buds
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Unknown Fruits
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Arctornis sp.
Tussock Moth
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Bathippus species
(Jumping Spider)
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Platystoma lugubre
(Signal Fly)
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Hairy Caterpillar

Statistics:

First shot: 8:22 am
Last shot: 11:57 am
Total number of shots: 349

To use any of the image(s), please read the conditions carefully. To correct any error, please contact me.