Oriental white-eyes are unmistakable with the striking white ring around their eyes. What distinguishes it from other white-eyes would be the yellow ventral stripe that goes up its grey-white belly. They love to gather around the tembusu trees near the clock tower. You can hear their cheerful and shrill “chew” calls among the leaves and branches. Sadly, these petite birds are threatened by pet trades.
Madagascar periwinkle Catharanthus roseus
There are different varieties of Madagascar periwinkle with flowers of different colours: white, mauve, peach, scarlet and reddish-orange. It has long been cultivated for herbal medicine in Asia, and used as an ornamental plant. Although the potent alkaloids isolated from it are poisonous, the plant has been used to treat diabetes, malaria, leukemia and Hodgkin's lymphoma. It has increased success rate of treating childhood leukemia (white blood cell cancer) from 10% to well over 80%! Recent patents by western pharmaceutical companies on drugs derived from the plant, without compensation to indigenous groups and traditional land owners, has led to accusations of biopiracy. Featured in: https://youtu.be/1nsY3rLl1gs?t=414
Cockscomb Celosia cristata
This plant gets its interesting common name from the resemblance its scarlet blossom bears to the crest of a rooster. Cockscomb flowers are seen in vibrant yellows, pinks, reds and gold colours, although only the red ones are found in our school. Do not underestimate their numbers though, one inflorescence can easily contain hundreds of small flowers.
Desert Rose Adenium obesum
Often known as Desert Rose, this succulent shrub is well-adapted to its native African desert environment with its caudex-shaped, swollen stem for water storage. This feature is responsible for its specific epithet ‘obesum’. It also has fleshy roots where water is stored. Its luxurious, dark green foliage is adorned with showy blossoms of vibrant colours. But be careful, for its sap is poisonous, and is often used as arrow and fish poison by indigenous hunters.