This little bird is perhaps the most common bird in Singapore. The Olive-backed sunbird enjoys feeding on the nectars of the colorful flowers of our tropical city, including the favorite with Biology students - hibiscus. The sunbirds are even seen building their own nests with twigs and catkins on the potted plants near the junior college mother tongue department.
Orange Champaca Michelia champaca
A phylogenetically ancient plant, Michelia champaca is part of the family Magnoliaceae, which appeared before plants differentiated into monocots and dicots. If you look closely at its orange flowers, you’ll notice that all its petals are similar (rather than having 2 types of petals as with many modern plants), and its reproductive organs are less apparent than many modern plants. One can determine the age of the plant by observing the colour of its flowers: younger plants produce bright yellow flowers while older ones give deep orange flowers.
Mango tree Mangifera indica
While the one in the butterfly garden is still in its infancy, mature wild mango trees bearing fruits can be found behind the clock tower and the high school science labs. The fruits borne usually attract, and are consumed by, visiting birds and scampering squirrels.
Chinese Hibiscus Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
The brilliant red and yellow flowers of the Hibiscus is an appeasing sight with its glossy leaves as a background. The national flower of Malaysia, each hibiscus flower proudly displays its long and slender style, protruding from the center of its corolla. You have to admit that the Hibiscus truly has style. Flowers that have fallen off are often collected and used for dissection during Biology lessons in the high school labs, enriching the learning experience of our students.
Water Jasmine 水梅 Wrightia religiosa
The Water Jasmines in our school were donated by alumnus Mr Tan Leong Teck (陈龙德学长). Many neatly trimmed bushes of Water Jasmines can also be found lining the pavements at different locations around the High School section. Some of them have also been turned into bonzai, which are being maintained by our skilful gardeners over the years. You may be astonished to find that the bonsai are of the same species, presented as rows of “typical” bushes. If you do not believe it, lean close and smell their sweet and fragrant white flowers!
Indian Coral Tree Erythrina variegata
Indian Coral Tree is a showy tree with brilliant red blossoms. It has many stout branches that are armed with black tiger's claw spines (prickles). Like the butterfly pea and hibiscus, the flowers of Indian coral tree are used for dissection in biology lessons on plant reproduction. Perhaps, you may be amazed to know that the Indian coral tree in Fabaceae (Legumes, Pea) family, the same as the butterfly pea. Thus, the red blossoms which may look structurally distinct from the butterfly pea does actually result in a peapod when fertilised!