Every Singaporean will know this flower. It’s Singapore’s National flower. But how often do we see this flower? Not often enough I feel. Vanda Miss Joaquim, is an orchid hybrid between Vanda teres and Vanda hookeriana, is hardy and free flowering. It’s the first orchid hybrid to be described from Singapore in 1983 by Mr. H.N. Ridley and named after Agnes Joaquim in whose garden the hybrid originated. This orchid was selected on 15th April, 1981 from among 40 flowers, out of which 30 were orchids, to be the National Flower of Singapore, the only country to have a hybrid as her national flower.

Simpoh Air (Dillenia suffruticosa ) has large leaves, and large yellow flowers which open at 3 am and last only a day. They are pollinated by bees. The Simpoh Air’s large leaves were used to wrap food such as tempeh (fermented soyabean cakes), or formed into shallow cones to contain traditional “fast food” such as rojak, (a traditional fruit and vegetable salad dish). This flower is the national flower of Brunei.  The unopened fruits of Simpoh ayer are surrounded by thick red sepals. To distinguish them from flower buds, the fruits face upwards while flower buds face down. The ripe fruit splits open at 3 am, into pinkish star-shaped segments to reveal seeds covered in red arils. These juicy seeds are quickly eaten by birds so that it’s rare to see them at dawn.

Mimosa pudica (also called sensitive plant, sleepy plant, Dormilones or shy plant, humble plant, shameplant, touch-me-not,) is a creeping annual or perennial herb of the pea family often grown for its curiosity value: the compound leaves fold inward and droop when touched or shaken, defending themselves from harm, and re-open a few minutes later. Stalked, pale pink or purple flower heads, arise from the leaf axils. This plant is considered to be a weed.

Gloriosa (above) is a native of tropical Africa. This ornamental vine climbs by means of tendrils at the ends of it’s long, blade-shaped leaves. The lily-like flowers consists of six narrow red and orange petals with crinkled edges, curving upwards in a cluster, and six prominent stamens projecting below. This plant is poisonous, toxic enough to cause human and animal fatalities if ingested. Every part of the plant is poisonous, especially the tuberous rhizomes.

Took this picture (above) in a moonsoon drain. This weed with a tiny purpulish inflorescence of 3 to 4 mm diameter, was growing on the sides .

Ipomea. Saw this beautiful heavenly blue morning glory in bloom at a local nursery. Never seen such a nice blue cultivar before.

This shrub (above) usually with pretty purple flowers is commonly seen in open wild places, including coastal areas. Sometimes called the Singapore rhododendron (Melastoma ) although it is not a rhododendron, neither is it confined to Singapore. The white flower variety is rarely seen if at all. Flowers open at about 8am and close in the late afternoon the same day, the petals falling off a few days later. The flower has two different kinds of stamens. Seeds are dispespersed by birds.

Scarlet passionflower.(Passiflora coccinea). The Spanish Christian missionaries to South America in the 15th-16th centuries interpreted the various structures of the plant as symbolic of Jesus Christ and his crucifixion and called it the Passion Flower.

Etlingera elatior (also known as torch ginger, ginger flower, red ginger lily, torch lily, wild ginger, etc.) is another not often seen flower.

The white Frangapani (Plumeria) is seldom seen these days due to preference for the colourful cultivars available. But it’s still beautiful.

The (common) water hyacinth. (Eichhornia crassipes). One of the fastest growing plants known, water hyacinth reproduces primarily by way of runners or stolons, which eventually form daughter plants. Each plant can produce thousands of seeds each year, and these seeds can remain viable for more than 28 years. Water hyacinths usually bloom the most during the hottest part of the year and only if they are crowded. Each 6” to 12” flower spike lasts only one day and has 6 to 15 lavender flowers on it.