Weekly Series
Nature Weekly
Short Notes on Nature Singapore

10 January 2016 | Field Trip | Tree Top Walk Trail |

This Tree Top Walk Trail outing on 30 December 2015 was my last field trip of the year and the second walk on this trail in the same year. Since I started writing this Short Notes in 2014, I had made 3 trips during this period including the current one. The last 2 trips were on 23 April 2014 and 30 May 2015. My very first trip on this trail was in 2008. Since then, I had come by this trail at least once or the most twice a year. The frequency was relatively low for such an exciting nature trail. I was always very hopeful to see some exciting stuff when I walk along this trail. This trip again vindicated my previous experience.

photo photo The most exciting find was 4 of these acorn-like fruits on a tree. Three of them were clustered together near the end of one of the branches while the fourth one was alone on another branch. Except for the base which was brown, three of the fruits were white and one was red. These were the only 4 fruits on that small tree. Fortunately, the branch with the fruits was not too high and I managed to stretch my arm to bring the fruits closer to take some good pictures.

photo photo Believe it or not, as I proceed further on the trail, I came upon a small lone flower bud on a slender branch which I suspected was from the same plant species. Moving on further on the trail, I even found blooming white flowers of the plant. This must be its fruiting season. Since the flowers, flower bud and fruits were not located on the same tree, the link among them were determined via the similarity of the leaves. At first, I thought it might be a Lithocarpus species since this species had acorn-like fruits except that their fruits are usually brown in colour. Further search finally lead me to its identity --- Litsea accedens. The identification also led me to its seedlings which seemed to be prone to a type of gall invasion that appeared as pinkish to reddish lumps on the leaf surface.

photo One of my to-do item on this trip was to check on the Great Spindle Ginger (Hornstedtia scyphifera). Recently, someone wrote me a note indicating that this ginger species seen in Singapore might not be Hornstedtia scyphifera. One feature he pointed out was that the bracts of the inflorescence should be greenish at the lower portion and I was shown the cover picture from the book titled "Gingers of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore" published in 1999 to substantiate the claim. Since all my pictures did not show any green bracts, I wanted to investigate further on this feature in the field. Fortunately, I did find one with green bracts. Further reading on this ginger indicated that it had several varieties. Hence, it should not be a surprise seeing slight variations on some of the features among different plants.

Besides Litsea accedens, I had added another 4 new plants to my website from this trip. They were Artocarpus anisophyllus, Strychnos axillaris, Dillenia reticulata, Nauclea officinalis and Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia.

photo photo photoOn top of these plants, there was one more plant (Oncosperma horridum) that I had yet to add my pictorial database as I had only limited pictures of this palm. In addition, I am trying to figure out the identity of a seedling that had golden colour young palm-shaped leaves. My guess was an Actinodaphne species.

As for minibeasts, there were a few interesting ones: (1) an Assassin Bug nymph that carried a pile of trash on its back that act as some kind of camouflage; (2) a new butterfly, Commander (Moduza procris milonia) for my picture deck; (3) a longhorn beetle (Chloridolum thomsoni), also seeing it for the first time and lastly; (4) a damselfly, Mortonagrion arthuri.

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