Spring is in the air and even in tropical Singapore, wayside trees are in bloom after torrential downpours following the dry season. Here are several flowering trees and their cultural significance and history in Singapore.
#1 Flame of the Forest
The Flame of the Forest (Delonix regia) was introduced to Singapore in 1840 and considered as one of the country’s Heritage Trees. It bears astoundingly beautiful red flowers that cover the tree’s entire crown. The tree has even inspired the name of a Singaporean instrumental group which was formed in the 1980s by local Kenny Tan and features world fusion music, including a mixed genre of Indian classical and traditional folk sounds.
#2 Pink Mempat
The Pink Mempat (Cratoxylum formosum) tree was planted at Holland Circus by the first and late Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 1963 to mark the launch of Singapore’s tree planting and greening campaign. After more than five decades, the movement to make Singapore a ‘City in a Garden’ continues, and many more Mempat trees have been planted around the island. The tree bears light pink flowers akin to cherry blossoms, therefore earning its title as ‘Singapore’s Sakura’.
Growing up to 40 metres in height, this native evergreen tree is characterized by its oval-shaped dark green leaves and deeply fissured bark. The cream white flowers of the Tembusu tree (Fagraea fragrans) is said to bloom and emit a sweet fragrance at sunset during the flowering season. The iconic tree is featured on Singapore’s five-dollar note, and that particular Heritage tree still stands at the Botanic Gardens today.
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