We were at Pasir Ris Park Mangrove Boardwalk yesterday for #2 of #sglittleXplorers series, collaboration with Familytrippers.
Pasir Ris Park is more popular for its beach and its ‘spiderweb’ playground…
But right in the middle of the whole stretch, there’s a small area of mangrove.
Public transport: About 5-10 min walking distance from Pasir Ris MRT station. You’ll need to walk towards Downtown east.
Driving/ Cab/ Uber:
1. Carpark B, enter from Pasir Ris Drive 3. Unfortunately, Carpark B is still not in Google Map, but you can search for the sheltered pavilion, Piai Plaza. Google map coordinates here.
2. Carpark C.
About 1-2 hour walk. No soiled-path. It’s a boardwalk throughout without any slope. No cycling allowed, but I guess you can push your pram if you’re coming with kids.
The best time to visit is in the morning because it is low tide. During low tide, you’ll get to see the roots and creatures. Then, just as you end, you can see that the water level is higher compared to what it was when you walked in. I feel, this makes a good observation and comparison for the kids. They will also able to appreciate the conditions and environment of the mangrove as an ecosystem with distinctive features due to influences of tidal movement.
So, what are some of the interesting sightings and learning adventures we had?
Sea poison is commonly found in back mangrove region.
Pretty sight of pinkish flowers on the ground welcomed us just a few metres before the start the boardwalk.
The bud swell in the daytime, the whitish part in the photo below, and bloom only after sunset.
Flowers on the ground is a usual sight every morning, because after these flowers bloom at night, they eventually fall off from the tree, by sunrise the next day. Strong fragrance is also present only after sunset.
Why this special adaptation? Well, these flowers are pollinated by insects that are more active at night, common example is moth.
The flowers are white, because these animals do not have colour visual at night. Hence, it’s not necessary for them to be brightly-coloured, as observed in most of other insect-pollinated flowers.
The fruit is a fibrous husk as its seeds are dispersed by water, a typical feature of most mangrove plants.
p/s Do you know that another common flower that emits fragrance at night and is pollinated by moth too is spider lily. Spider lily is commonly found in neighbourhood area, so do lookout for it!
Pong Pong tree
Pong pong is quite well-known as a poisonous plant. The parts of the plant that are poisonous are the seeds and the latex/white sap from the bark and leaves.
The fruit floats as dispersal of seed is by water, a common feature of most mangrove plants. The fruit is eventually left as a fibrous husk, as seen in the photo above.
We were also lucky to spot a shoot growing from the seed in the husk!
A common reproductive adaptation of mangrove plants is vivipary. The conditions of the environment is harsh for a typical germination of seed in the soil. To increase higher rate of survival of offsprings, the plants undergo vivipary.
The seedling (also called propagule) will grow on parent plant, mainly to receive nutrients. It’ll become heavy and eventually fall. It’ll float in water and then rooted in soil to grown into a young plant.
We were lucky to spot a few propagules hanging on a plant.
If you’re at the boardwalk, lookout for the Vivipary info board below.
You’ll have a higher chance to spot propagules from the tree right behind the board.
As we walked further down, we also saw a propagule perhaps only recently rooted into the mud and growing into a young plant.
Really cool to spot them at the different stages!
Oh, and another interesting fact about the propagule. One end of it is more water-absorbent. And, there’s a reason for it! When it drops into the water, it float horizontally. But due to one end of the tip being more water-absorbent, that end becomes heavier, enabling it to float vertically and eventually heavy enough to sink and rooted into the mud. Cool stuff, right!
Fish tail palm
The leaves of this plant looks like a fish tail, hence the name. A 4-yo participant also pointed out that it looks like someone bit it. And, he pointed out a good observation cuz there’s a reason for it! The leaves appears as though it had been bitten so that insects will not feed on it.
Aerial roots adaptations are observed in mangrove plants because of low oxygen concentration in the mud. The roots “appear” out of the soil to increase exposure for oxygen.
And that’s pretty much some of the interesting sights we had at Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk. Do make a visit soon to learn more about the mangrove ecosystem!