The Botanic Gardens has been ranked Asia's top park attraction since 2013, by TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards. It was declared the inaugural Garden of the Year, International Garden Tourism Awards in 2012, and received Michelin’s three-star rating in 2008. The Botanic Gardens was founded at its present site in 1859 by an agri-horticultural society. It played a pivotal role in the region's rubber trade boom in the early twentieth century, when its first scientific director Henry Nicholas Ridley, headed research into the plant's cultivation. By perfecting the technique of rubber extraction, still in use today, and promoting its economic value to planters in the region, rubber output expanded rapidly. At its height in the 1920s, the Malayan peninsula cornered half of the global latex production.
The National Orchid Garden, within the main gardens, is at the forefront of orchid studies and a pioneer in the cultivation of hybrids, complementing the nation's status as a major exporter of cut orchids. Aided by the equatorial climate, it houses the largest orchid collection of 1,200 species and 2,000 hybrids. Early in the nation's independence, Singapore Botanic Gardens' expertise helped to transform the island into a tropical Garden City, an image and moniker for which the nation is widely known. In 1981, the hybrid climbing orchid, Vanda Miss Joaquim, was chosen as the nation's national flower. Singapore's "orchid diplomacy" honors visiting head of states, dignitaries and celebrities, by naming its finest hybrids after them; these are displayed at its popular VIP Orchid Gardens.
Singapore's botanic gardens is the only one in the world that opens from 5 a.m. to 12 midnight every day of the year. More than 10,000 species of flora are spread over its 82-hectares area, which is stretched vertically; the longest distance between the northern and southern ends is 2.5 km (1.6 mi). The Botanic Gardens receives about 4.5 million visitors annually.
National Orchid Garden
Since 1859, orchids have been closely associated with the Gardens. The products of the Gardens' orchid breeding programme, which began in 1928, deserve a place where they can be displayed in their full splendour. The very design of these orchids is, one could say, 'hand-crafted' by the Gardens' horticultural staff, dedicated to bringing out the finest in any hybrid cross. With over 1000 species and 2000 hybrids on display, the splendour of these gorgeous blooms is absolutely a sight to behold at the National Orchid Garden.
Nassim Gate Visitor Centre
The spreading canopy of an 80-year old Rain Tree in front of the Visitor Centre at Nassim Gate offers a welcome retreat, providing shade and shelter after a long walk. The Visitor Centre comprises a three-storey building, which accommodates the headquarters for the National Parks Board and the Singapore Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre. Showcasing Southeast Asian architecture with expressive timber trusses and cedar shakes roofs, the Visitor Centre features linked walkways, a landscaped plaza with oil palms, water cascades and facilities such as car and coach parking for visitors to the Gardens. Flanking the landscaped plaza is the Gardens Shop and Casa Verde, an alfresco restaurant.
E J H Corner House
This colonial house was formerly the residence of the Assistant Director of Singapore Botanic Gardens, E J H Corner (1929-1945). Corner was an expert on fungi and tropical trees and palms. After his tenure with the Gardens, he went on to become Professor of Tropical Botany at the University of Cambridge. Today, the house has been converted into a restaurant.
Take a journey through time, from the fiery beginnings of our planet to the first living organisms and gradually changing plant life on land. This 1.5-hectare garden offers displays designed to enrich and educate. Magnificent Tree Ferns & Cycads are the ‘Jurassic Park’ centrepiece here.
The Healing Garden showcases over 400 varieties of plants used medicinally. It is laid out thematically relating to component parts of the body such as head, respiratory and reproductive systems. Spread over 2.5 hectares, this garden is designed as a tranquil retreat with medicinal plants traditionally used in Southeast Asia as the main focus. Immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of the Healing Garden, and discover the power of plants to heal and enhance our quality of life. The plant information featured in the Healing Garden is intended for educational purposes only. All information and recommendations are not intended to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any diseases or illness. It is essential for visitors to consult a medical doctor or a qualified health care professional before administering any treatment for health or medical purposes. Please exercise caution when handling the plants or their parts as some may have toxic properties.
Some 314 species of plant jostle for space in this precious six-hectare fragment of primary tropical forest, forming a multi-layered ecosystem of herbs and ferns, climbers, shrubs, and trees. Some trees reach 50 metres in height, and were here even before the founding of modern Singapore in 1819. Among the rich species of plants found in the Rain Forest are trees of economic importance, such as rattans, fruit trees and the towering Jelutong. With more than 50 per cent of its species representing plants that are rare in Singapore, the Rain Forest certainly qualifies as a part of Singapore’s natural heritage.
Palm Valley and Symphony Lake
Here the land falls away from the wooded skyline of tall forest trees into a grand valley swept with palms ranging in size from the squat Mexican Fan Palm, Washingtonia robusta, to members of the ‘skyscraper’ fan palm genus, Livistona. At one end of the valley, families and music enthusiasts regularly gather for orchestral performances at the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage. Palm Valley is home to the Palm Collection of the Singapore Botanic Gardens with more than 115 genera and over 220 species. They are arranged in a herring bone pattern with islands representing the major plant group. All six sub-families of palms – Arecoideae, Coryphoideae, Calamoideae, Ceroxyloideae, Phytelephantoideae and Nypoideae are represented in the collection.
Arecoideae are the "feather" palms with leaves that are usually pinnate. The stems are either solitary or multiple and are usually smooth, ringed and rarely with spines. There are 124 genera and over 1400 species in this sub-family. Some of the palms belonging to Arecoideae found in Palm Valley include the Jelly palm (Butia capitata), Sealing Wax palm (Cyrtostachys renda), Fishtail palm (Caryota species), Betel-nut (Areca catechu), Sugar palm (Arenga pinnata), Foxtail palm (Wodyetia bifurcata) and the Black palm (Normanbya normanbyi). Coryphoideae is represented by 39 genera and about 400 species. With few exceptions, members of Coryphoideae are characterised by their large fan-shaped leaves.
Some of these found in Palm Valley are the Talipot palm (Corypha umbraculifera), Double Coconut (Lodoicea maldivica), Fiji Fan palm (Pritchardia pacifica), Chinese Fan palm (Livistona chinensis), and Petticoat palm (Washingtonia filifera). Calamoideae has 22 genera and about 650 species and is mainly distributed in the eastern tropics. The largest in this group is the Calamus, a group of climbing feather palms found in the rainforest. They have slender stems which are covered in leaf sheaths when young and are often very prickly. Calamus and closely related genera are the rattans of commerce. You can also find in this sub-family the Sago palm (Metroxylon sagu), Wanga palm (Pigafetta filaris), and Salak (Salacca zalacca). Ceroxyloideae is represented by 11 genera and 30 species. Members are mainly deciduous feather palms, often very tall with solitary, smooth ringed trunks. Some of them in our collection are the Majestic palm (Ravenea rivularis), Good Luck palm (Chamaedorea elegans) and Bottle palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis).
Phytelephantoideae, characterised by having large female flowers borne in a head on a short peduncle, is represented by 3 genera and 13 species. Found in Palm Valley is the Ivory Palm (Phytelephas aequatorialis). Nypoideae contains only one genus which is distinguished by its unique erect inflorescences, which bear a terminal head of female flowers and lateral spikes of male flowers. Nypa, the only genus in this sub-family, is also a monotypic genus (this means it has only one species). Its single representative Nypa fruticans, commonly known as Nipah or Mangrove palm, can be found in Palm Valley as well.
After the redevelopment of the Tanglin Core, this newly renovated gate retained its four trademark pillars and the supporting swinging gates. The current design is a cast-aluminium tangle of Bauhinia kockiana, the climber planted at the fencing just beside it. A remarkable and exquisite entrance, this gate remains dear to many generations of Singaporeans and visitors.
SBG Heritage Museum & CDL Green Gallery
The 240sqm SBG Heritage Museum is located in Holttum Hall, which is next to Botany Centre in the Tanglin Core of the Gardens. Built in 1921 to serve as the Director of the Gardens' office and laboratory, the two-storey building has been designated as an Urban Redevelopment Authority conservation building. This was where Professor Eric Holttum, the Gardens' Director from 1925 to 1949, developed the innovative orchid breeding technique which enabled the efficient production of healthy seedlings in sterile flasks from a hybrid seed. This technique, which is still used today, was a key factor that stimulated orchid industries throughout the region. The SBG Heritage Museum features interactive and multimedia exhibits and panels that detail the Gardens' rich heritage. Historical items that will be displayed include old photographs, artefacts, plant specimens, rare botanical books and botanical paintings that date back to the early 19th century. Oral recordings of Ridley during his 100th birthday will also be integrated into an interactive display. The exhibits in the Museum are supported by CDL through the Garden City Fund, a registered charity and institution of public character established by the National Parks Board.
Visitors can participate in guided tours of the SBG Heritage Museum. NParks is honoured to be one of the recipients of the artillery shell casings from the 21-Gun Salute for Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew. The casing is on display at the Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Museum. CDL Green Gallery - SBG Heritage Museum Developed and donated by CDL, the 314sqm CDL Green Gallery is a new eco-friendly building sited on Holttum Lawn. It is conceptualised as an extension of the Heritage Museum, and will feature botanical- or greening-related exhibits that will be changed every six to nine months. The first exhibition held there showcases Singapore's greening journey, to commemorate 50 Years of Greening our island. The gallery will be Singapore's first zero energy Green Gallery.
A key feature of the building is the solar photovoltaic (PV) cladded roof panels that are expected to harvest all the energy required for the building's operations. The solar panels are expected to generate an annual energy yield of over 31,000 kWh, which is more than the Gallery's estimated annual energy consumption of about 30,000 kWh/year. Using innovative design, the development will cause minimal disruption to the site as it will use two eco-innovative features that are introduced in Singapore for the first time - the biomaterial known as Hempcrete (largely made from the hemp plant), and a prefabricated modular system. A mixture of hemp core (shiv), lime binders, and water, Hempcrete will be used for the external wall cladding of the Heritage Museum. The high thermal material is ideal for Singapore's humid climate as it creates good indoor air quality. It is also highly durable, and naturally pest, mould, mildew and fire resistant.
Another advantage of using Hempcrete is that it can be precast into sections at an external site using a prefabricated modular system and brought to the Gardens for installation. This eliminates massive wet works usually required in building developments, and results in faster construction time with a lower impact on the environment. Other eco-friendly features at the CDL Green Gallery @ SBG Heritage Museum include: Green walls - the east and west facade will be cladded with butterfly-attracting plant species to enrich biodiversity; Green roof - selected drought resistant plant species will be incorporated to lower the Urban Heat Island effect around the building; Energy efficient interior fittings - the building will be fitted with LED lights and energy efficient air-conditioning systems.
Located at the southern end of the Gardens where it was first established in 1859, the Botany Centre was carefully designed around precious historic trees as well as colonial buildings that used to be occupied by the Gardens’ Directors. It currently houses important research resources like the Singapore Herbarium, the Library of Botany and Horticulture, and the Orchid Breeding and Micropropagation Laboratory.
The Swan Lake is a major attraction in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. It was formerly also known as the Main Lake or the First Lake. It was constructed in 1866, shortly after the Gardens formation. It is considered to be the oldest ornamental water-feature in Singapore. Home to numerous species of aquatic plants and fishes, the lake covers an area of slightly less than 1.5 hectares, with a depth of about 4 metres. The Swan Lake is named as such because of a pair of beautiful mute swans from Amsterdam that glide gracefully across the lake. These swans never fail to thrill visitors. Another iconic feature of the lake is the island with its large clump of Nibong palms (Oncosperma tigillarium) which were recorded to be planted here in 1891. The Swan Lake also serves as an important water point to supply water for the Gardens’ plants around the Tanglin Core. In the Gardens’ annual report dated 1892, it was mentioned that a crocodile that had escaped about two years earlier had taken up residency in the Lake despite all efforts of trying to catch it. It became dangerous, having seized one of the coolies while he was drawing water.
Following the incident, the Lake was drained off in order to capture and destroy it. Along with this exercise, the Lake was also thoroughly cleaned for water lilies and other aquatics to be planted. In 1961, the Swan Lake underwent another draining, to facilitate investigations into the mystery of the complete disappearance of the waterlily population in the Lake. Six herbivorous turtles, Callagur borneoensis (Painted Batagur), were caught and removed as they were the culprits. This subsequently led to the regeneration of Nelumbo and Nymphaea. Even a rare blue Nymphaea last seen flowering in 1953 reappeared at the same planting spot. The regeneration of these aquatic species was believed to come from a rich stock of dormant seeds lying in the mud that finally germinated as a result of the drying and improved aeration. During the draining of the Swan Lake in 1961, nearly 100 specimens of a predatory fish called Aruan or Giant Snakehead (Channa micropeltes) were caught and distributed to the National University of Singapore, The National Museum, the Van Kleef Aquarium and the Water Department. However the sheer number of the Aruan in the lake made total eradication impossible.
A Curtain of Roots
Commonly known as Curtain Ivy or Princess Vine (Cissus verticillata), this fascinating plant is not a true Ivy but a close relative of the common grape, Vitis. This unusual species produces an abundance of long, reddish aerial roots which form a dense lacy curtain, and fruits that look like small black grapes. It is a native to the tropical parts of America and has traditionally been used to treat several diseases including rheumatism, ulcers and diabetes. Please be gentle when walking through the display as the roots are very delicate.
The octagonal gazebo known as the Bandstand was erected in 1930 and has retained its original form over the years. The Bandstand site was initially just a small hill that stood at 33 m above sea level and was the highest point at the Tanglin Core site. This hill was levelled off around 1860s to serve as the site for regimental bands to perform surrounded by terraced flower beds and palms. Although no longer used for music performances, it is a favourite wedding photo spot and an iconic landmark of the Gardens. One of the notable landscape features of the Bandstand today is the ring of Yellow Rain Trees (Samanea saman) surrounding it. The Rain Tree usually has light green foliage, but due to a mutation, some trees produced yellow leaves and some of these plants have been re-produced by cloning. The Yellow Rain Trees have been planted here for the enjoyment of visitors.
Bonsai is the art of dwarfing trees or plants and developing them into aesthetically appealing shapes by growing, pruning and training them in containers according to prescribed techniques. The bonsai display in the Gardens currently comprises 48 specimens ranging from tropical to sub-tropical species and varieties, and are made up of 29 plant types. The Gardens has been working on expanding its plant diversity by introducing more sub-tropical plants that are suitable for our climate.
The Sun Garden displays succulents and other plants of arid regions. This includes cacti and euphorbias and other drought-tolerant species such as agaves, yuccas and grass trees. Succulents have fleshy leaves or stems that store water. In stem succulents, the stems may be green and take over from the leaves as the main organs of photosynthesis. A drainage system installed here help to simulate the dry conditions required to grow this collection. Within the Sun Garden, the "Passing of Knowledge" sculpture garners much attention from passers-by.
Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim
On 15 April 1981, Vanda Miss Joaquim was selected as Singapore's National Flower. It was selected from among 40 flowers, out of which 30 were orchids. Among the several varieties of Vanda Miss Joaquim, the variety "Agnes" was chosen in particular for its vibrant colours, hardiness and resilience – qualities that reflect the Singapore spirit. Vanda Miss Joaquim originated from the garden of Agnes Joaquim, an Armenian lady residing in Singapore. In 1893, the first scientific director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens H. N. Ridley recorded the following in the Gardeners’ Chronicle: “A few years ago Miss [Agnes] Joaquim, a lady residing in Singapore, well-known for her success as a horticulturist, succeeded in crossing Vanda Hookeriana and V. teres, two plants cultivated in almost every garden in Singapore.” As a result of recent taxonomic research, the genus of the parents of the national flower has been changed to Papilionanthe. This orchid is now accepted as Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim.
Tyersall Gate Visitor Centre
The “Our Rainforest Heritage” mural at the Tyersall Gate Visitor Centre was designed by artist Eng Siak Loy who also designed the Singapore Botanic Gardens stamp series as well as the Tanglin Gate. It depicts the flora and fauna that can be found in the Gardens’ Rain Forest and the Learning Forest. The Learning Forest is located in the new Tyersall-Gallop Core of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. It is designed to integrate with the existing 6-hectare Rain Forest to form an enlarged forest habitat. The Learning Forest features a network of boardwalks and elevated walkways that allow visitors to explore habitats ranging from a freshwater forest wetland to a lowland rainforest. Visitors can learn about freshwater forest wetland ecosystems at the Keppel Discovery Wetlands and walk amongst a collection of some of the tallest tree species in Southeast Asia at the SPH Walk of Giants. Other highlights of the Learning Forest include themed collections showcasing trees with interesting forms and bark, a bambusetum, and an arboretum of wild fruit trees.
The collection of wild fruit trees features wild relatives of familiar and domesticated species, such as species from the Soursop (Annonaceae), Jackfruit (Moraceae), Lychee (Sapindaceae) and Mango (Anarcardiaceae) families. The Bambusetum features over 30 species of tropical bamboos, showcasing the wide diversity of growth forms that occur naturally in the wild. The Bark of Trees feature is an exposition of the diversity of textures and colours exhibited by trees in their bark. This collection features forest plants that are cultivated for human uses such as timber, building materials and food. This part of the Learning Forest features tree species with specialised growth forms that inspired E J H Corner to formulate his 'Durian Theory'. Corner postulated that many of today's plants are descended from tree species with large fruit similar to durians.
The SPH Walk of Giants is an elevated boardwalk which measures approximately 260 m in length and takes visitors from ground level up to a height of 8 m. The boardwalk brings visitors up-close to a diversity of plant species that are found in lowland rainforests in the region. Highlights of the SPH Walk of Giants include an impressive variety of forest 'giants', palms, epiphytes and climbers, as well as the 'Canopy Web'. The Canopy Web allows visitors to experience being in the canopy of a forest from a height of about 8 m. Here, visitors can peer up into the crowns of the surrounding trees, and get to see them flowering up-close. The Keppel Discovery Wetlands is a 1.8-hectare restoration project of the forest wetland ecosystem that was historically found in the vicinity of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. On display is a carefully curated collection of plant species that are typical of freshwater forest wetland habitats in the region. Today, these habitats are highly endangered.
In recognition of Keppel Corporation's contribution to the Gardens, the restored freshwater wetland was named the Keppel Discovery Wetlands. Some of the highlights of the Keppel Discovery Wetlands are the Orchid Islands, Botanists' Boardwalk and Pulai Marsh. The Orchid Islands showcase a large number of native orchids, many of which have been conserved through NParks’ native orchid conservation programme. The Botanists' Boardwalk showcases the work of some of the Gardens' illustrious botanists ̶ Nathaniel Cantley (Superintendent from 1880 to 1888), Henry Ridley (Director from 1888 to 1912) and E J H Corner (Assistant Director from 1929 to 1945). The landscape around the boardwalk features plant species that have been collected from around the region and named in honour of our botanical pioneers. The Pulai Marsh collects water from the surrounding area, and is also fed by a natural spring. This spring contributes enough water to fill one Olympic-sized swimming pool every month! The Pulai Marsh supports a rich diversity of flora and fauna.
The Ginger Garden displays several hundred species of gingers and other plants from related families. With a walk behind a waterfall, romantic night lighting and a pool adorned with giant Amazon water lilies, the Ginger Garden has proven popular among visitors. The one-hectare Ginger Garden contains more than 250 species of members from the family Zingiberaceae and its relatives. Visitors are treated to a wide array of gingers in all shapes and forms, many with surprisingly beautiful leaves and very attractive flowers. The Ginger Garden has been divided into special zones where one can find gingers organised by their regions of origin.
The Fragrant Garden was created to perfume the air and create an aromatic experience for our visitors. Located next to our Healing Garden, it is also an ideal spot for night time visits as many of the plants give off their scents in the evenings. A new boardwalk was developed and is beautifully lit at night to enhance visitors’ experience at the Fragrant Garden. The sign at the Fragrant Garden incorporates the design of the Tembusu tree flower. The flowers from this commonly-seen native tree are sweetly fragrant in the evening. The Fragrant Garden showcases many species of plants that have evolved to emit fragrances. The blooms attract butterflies and visitors will be able to spot these and other insects fluttering amongst the plants in the day. These fragrant species were cultivated widely for thousands of years across various cultures for their sweet smelling scents, and their uses have extended to rituals, religious ceremonies, traditional medicine, aromatherapy and the mega-industry of traditional and modern perfumery.
Fragrance as we humans know it, are pleasant smelling volatile chemical vapours exuded by various plant parts. These vapours are detected by our olfactory glands and interpreted by the brain as pleasant. The scents act as advertisement for insects to pollinate the flowers, with rewards of nectar, pollen and in some cases, with no rewards at all. Some scents also mimic pheromones of female insects to attract males while pungent scents help warn animals not to get too close to the plants. As such, we may perceive those scents as pleasant, unpleasant or may not even smell it, while other animals such as insects, would interact with the scents for specific functions such as pollination. We humans on the other hand, favour fragrant scents only to mask unpleasant scents (including body odour), or to make ourselves feel good!
Eco-Garden and Eco-Lake
The Eco-Garden is a discovery garden of plants of economic importance through human history. The word ‘eco’ stands for both economic and ecological here. Trees, shrubs and herbs yielding a myriad of products from spices, dyes, resins and fibres to fruits and timbers are laid out across a spacious landscape. Various plant groups like the bamboos, bougainvilleas, fruit trees and herbs and spices can be found here. The sinuous shores of the peaceful Eco-Lake are home to a family of elegant Black Swans, from Western Australia, as well as other important plant and animal species. A beautiful setting coupled with a soft and natural atmosphere, it is an ideal place to wind down after a long day. What do bats, blow pipes and bicycles all have in common? The answer lies in our collection of Bamboos.
This group of grasses (in the family Poaceae) includes 30m giants and the fastest growing plants known to man, which can grow almost a metre a day! The new shoots of some species can be used as food whilst the hollow stems of others, have traditionally become blow pipes to hunt for more. Their stems and leaves can also provide an array of materials for weaving, the manufacture of canes, chopsticks, musical instruments and many more. Bamboos have been used in construction throughout history. Some have a tensile strength 10 times stronger than steel making them ideal material for scaffolding, bridges, modern architecture and even bicycle frames. Many species have also been selected for their ornamental value, such as the Buddha’s Belly Bamboo, a unique form of Bambusa vulgaris with bulging stems that can be found here.
Some of the giant Bamboos in our collection are also home to the worlds' smallest species of bat! At around 3cm across, they are just small enough to squeeze into holes made in the Bamboo stems by beetles and roost between the nodes. Commonly seen decorating Singapore’s overhead bridges and road dividers, the colourful flowers of bougainvilleas make these plants very attractive. The spectacular collection of bougainvilleas (Bougainvillea hybrids and cultivars, Nyctaginaceae) was started in the 1920s by Director R E. Holttum, as part of his programme to introduce more colour into the Gardens by hybridising and selecting plants that would flower well in the humid Singapore climate. Today, the collection boasts more than 50 cultivars, including Bougainvillea glabra ‘Pride of Singapore’ and Bougainvillea spectabilis ‘Calcutta’. The current fruit and nut trees collection is an expansion of the original Economic Garden at the historical Garage building.
A variety of local favourites such as the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) and the cempedak (Artocarpus integer) can be seen as you walk towards Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden from the Herb and Spice Garden. Also showcased are the various types of persimmons – Indian persimmon (Diospyros malabarica), and black persimmon (Diospyros digyna) as well as the the delicious pili nut (Canarium ovatum) and cocoa, from the seeds of Theobroma cacao. Aside from these popular fruit and nut trees, our collection has expanded to include wild relatives of commercial varieties. Xerospermum laevigatum produces a smaller but equally delicious fruit as its relative – the rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum). Neesia altissima, a close relative of the durian which is native to Singapore, does not have edible fruits but is a traditional source of timber. These species are threatened by habitat loss in the wild and are part of the Gardens’ conservation efforts to preserve biodiversity. Many trees produce fruits seasonally, generally twice a year, around July and December.
This area is devoted to growing various culinary herbs and spices, commonly used in the local and regional cuisine. Herbs generally refer to the leafy parts of plants, which are usually used when fresh. Here you can smell the aromatic leaves of basil, Ocimum basilicum, ketumbar jawa or Sawtooth corriander, Eryngium foetidum, and the Mexican marigold, Tagetes lucida on your fingers. These are some herbs widely used as a garnish in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines, whereas some are boiled in desserts like the pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius), or in curries like the curry leaf (Murraya koenigii). Other herbs like bunga kantan, are obtained from the unopened inflorescence of the torch ginger (Etlingera elatior). Spices on the other hand, are mostly dried materials such as seeds, fruits, root or bark. Showcased here are traditional spices which include nutmeg and mace, derived respectively from the seed and aril of the tree Myristica fragrans; Piper nigrum, of which black, white, and green pepper are obtained depending on the processing of its fruits; and turmeric from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa. Together, these herbs and spices work to enhance the flavour and aroma of our dishes.
Jacob Ballas Children's Garden
Jacob Ballas Children's Garden is Asia's first children's garden. Dedicated to all children of Singapore, it is designed to provide unique discovery and learning experiences in an organic garden setting. Through exploration and play, the Children's Garden aims to cultivate an appreciation for plants and the environment amongst its visitors. It meets the demands for nature education in an increasingly sophisticated tropical City in a Garden. Developed along the theme "All Life On Earth Depends on Plants", it is created as a unique and interactive fun place, where children up to 12 years of age can discover how plants provide their daily needs. Dare to cross the swaying Suspension Bridge, shoot down the Tree House slides and explore the Melting Maze! These and many more features will provide experiences to stimulate a sense of wonder for the natural world and provide happy memories for our child visitors.
The Children’s Garden will be doubling its current size with a new 2-hectare extension that includes new attractions geared towards children up to 14 years old. This will allow families with older children to immerse in the remarkable possibilities of nature as they explore the multiple eco-systems simulated in this comprehensive one-stop adventure site. The new extension also aims to expose children to and help them understand the ecology of plants through adventure play and experiential learning. Key amenities in the existing Children’s Garden will also be upgraded to support and complement the range of activities that will be found within the upcoming extension. When completed, the 4-hectare Children’s Garden will be the biggest children’s garden in Asia. The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden extension will be open to the public by 2018.
The Foliage Garden will be a new and unique themed attraction at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Conveniently located next to the car park at Cluny Park Gate and opposite The Garage building, the Foliage Garden extends a warm welcome to visitors with an extensive collection of terrestrial and aquatic foliage. It showcases a wide array of ornamental plants with colourful foliage of varying shapes and textures and demonstrates that the beauty and diversity of plants does not lie in their flowers alone. Visitors can expect to spot interesting carnivorous plants such as Nepenthes or pitcher plants. These plants have evolved to adapt to nutrient-poor environments where most obtain their nutrients from trapping and digesting insects. One of the most notable specimens on display, the 'giant' form of Raffles’ Pitcher Plant, Nepenthes rafflesiana, can be easily spotted by its distinct red cups and large funnel shaped upper pitches. A stroll on the boardwalk in the garden also offers a brilliant view of aquatic plants like the Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera.
The varying colours of the leaves in the foliage garden is one thing that will be hard to miss. This is known as variegation and it is attributed to many factors such as genetics or pigmentation. For instance, plants bearing genetic leaf variegation, chimeras, lack chlorophyll in some tissues, causing their leaves to appear yellow or white in some areas. Pigmentation can also be a cause for variegation where other pigments present mask the green pigment of chlorophyll. This is the case with some Begonia species, where the presence of pigmented hairs cause the green leaves to appear red. Variegated leaves are widely used to brighten up gardens and add dimension and structure.
The foliage garden also presents an eye-opening range of various leaf shapes and textures. Different plants adapt differently to the habitats that they grow in. Leaves come in many forms such as heart (cordate) or palm (palmate) shaped. Leathery or thin leaves are adaptive modifications to hot and humid tropical weather. Hairy leaves, whilst often pleasant to the touch, act as a form of self defence mechanism to deter herbivores.
The Trellis Garden showcases the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ climber collection. Climbers are plants that require support in order to grow upwards to harvest sunlight. Twining vines twine around the host, while others climb using tendrils, thorns or hooks. Look out for the unique leaves and strange flower of the Pipe Vine, Aristolochia leuconeura from South America, and the beautiful flowers and foliage of Bauhinia semibifida, which is native to Singapore. Some are scrambling bushes with fragrant flowers such as Nyctanthes arbor-tristis are trained to climb the trellis. Many climbers attract wildlife such as butterflies and birds and in the forest they are often the super-highways, used to acces different parts of the canopy. A few are important to the ethnic communities in this region, such as Derris elliptica, which is traditionally used as an insecticide.
An official application for Singapore Botanic Gardens was listed as a World Heritage Site was submitted to UNESCO in January 2014. The bid underlines the gardens' historical and cultural significance and its achievements in conservation and research. A 700-page nomination dossier was compiled and written up over one-and-a-half years, led by the National Heritage Board’s (NHB) preservation of sites and monuments division and the Botanic Gardens director, Dr Nigel Taylor, who was also involved in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew's own UNESCO bid from 2000 to 2003. As part of the process, the dossier had to seek the assessment of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a separate professional association. On May 16, 2015, ICOMOS's panel of experts backed the inscription without reservation – the best recommendation possible.
18, Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore
Open hours: 5:00 - 24:00
National Orchid Garden: с 8:30 - 19:00