A red-whiskered bulbul gazes proudly on as it perches on foliage. They have a prominent black crest and red “whiskers” beside their eyes, as well as a brown plumage. There are about 5 bulbuls that call the Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) tree near Block D home. They are songbirds with beautiful, intricate songs.
Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis 20 cm
These birds’ noisy calls ring as the early morning school bell. They have a distinctive glossy blueish-green plumage and striking dark-red eyes. Shown in the other picture is a juvenile, with fluffy freshly-plumed feathers and a white belly. They love to gather in flocks around the fig trees on the drive to Block D college section.
Blue Crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus 13 cm
This colourful bird is called “hanging parrot” for a reason — it likes to hang upside down on trees and would even take a bath in the rain in the same position! You can often spot these birds pecking at fruits and flower buds while hanging acrobatically from the branches.. Adult males have a blue crown and a red throat, while the female birds are green all over. When you spot the parrots, don’t try to talk to it — this species of parrot does not have the capacity to imitate human speech.
Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans 30 cm
The male pink-necked green pigeon is probably the most colourful pigeon in tropical Asia with its green back, orange breast and pink neck. Often mistaken for parrots, these beautiful birds often nest in forests, but are attracted to Hwa Chong by the Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) trees near Block D. The birds seem to enjoy perching acrobatically on thin branches, looking down at students coming and going.
Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis 30 cm
The spotted dove has black collar with white spots at back of neck, as if it were wearing strings of pearls. The spotted doves are loving birds — you can often spot them in pairs, fluttering in the languid afternoon sun. With the pale yellow walls of our 黄城 as backdrops, scenes of dancing doves remind us of poetic Chinese paintings.
Yellow Bells Tecoma stans
All of the Yellow Bells in the school are donated by alumnus Mr Mak Chin On. Many of these were grown in clusters all over the JC side in 2005, for the purpose of having more flowering trees to beautify our school landscape. Yellow Bells are used for ornamental purposes due to their distinctive bright golden corollas that resemble miniature trumpets, or jingle bells on a Christmas tree. They also have pods containing layers of papery, winged seeds which disperse by wind. Considered to be a ruderal species, these plants can often grow on rocky land. With countless flowers blooming on each tree at the same time, they certainly brighten the scenery and lightens the mood of students walking past them!
Tamalan Tree Dalbergia oliveri
This extremely graceful tree, with its spreading crown of delicate, feathery-looking foliage, can grow to about 20 metres in height. The leaves are made up of many small leaflets arranged alternately along a stalk. Its flowers are small and occur in bunches. These are lilac in colour during the budding stage, before turning pink, and finally white. This tree is native to Myanmar and Thailand. It was introduced into Singapore as an ornamental wayside tree. The wood of this tree has been prized for producing high quality furniture. The row of Tamalan Trees found growing on the left of the road leading up to college reception were planted in 2007, shortly after the building was upgraded.
Strangling Fig Ficus stricta
A Strangling Fig starts life in the canopy of its host tree. The young strangler fig sends several special root-like stems down to the soil, reach water and nutrients. Gradually its stems wrap around the host tree's trunk, grow and fuse together until they more or less form a cylinder surrounding the trunk. Meanwhile, up in the tree, the young stranger is growing in a bushy fashion, eventually looking like a small tree growing atop the host tree. This is a rare lowland rainforest species, whose figs ripen to an attractive yellow-orange hue, attracting many feeding birds. Here behind the parking lots, while the strangler fig deprives the tamalan tree of sunlight and nutrients, the gummy fig fruit falls onto and dirties the windshield of the cars parked underneath the tree - nature has cunning ways of finding everyone’s weakest spot.
White Mussaenda Mussaenda philippica 'Aurorae'
Mussaenda Mussaenda erythrophylla 'Dona Luz’
Scattered at various parts of the school, the differing colours of the bracts of different individual plants are a huge bewilderment. Similar to Bougainvilleas, their colourful “flowers” are actually just the leaves, or bracts. The actual flowers are small and can only be found if you pay close attention to the plant. After touching its leaves, you will also immediately realise that they are furry and soft! The yellow ‘Queen Sirikit’ is a hybrid variety that displays distinctive pink bracts; while ‘Donna Aurora’ boasts of dark orange flower nestled in 5 pearly white septals. Unlike most species of Mussaenda that have a single large bract (or enlarged sepal) for each flower, the crowning glories of these special cultivars usually have multiple of them.