Saturday, April 16, 2016

Walking Trail: Fort Canning Park Trees of the Fort Trail by Nparks


Following our nice Monument Trail we have signed up for another Nparks trail - Fort Canning, Trees of the Fort Trail. Our tour guide Anne, was quite knowledgable and interactive which made the trail really interesting.

Kapok or Cotton Tree lines up the perimeter of Fort Canning park. The thorny bark makes it distinct from other trees. Its flower pods that comes from these trees are used to stuff pillows, mattresses and life buoys. Kapok means 'floss' in Malay.
Septir is a very tall tree, it also sheds thorny pod like fruits. During World War II there was a Septir Tree that stood 50 meters tall in Changi, thus this tree is now commonly called as the 'Changi Tree'. Unfortunately the British had cut down the tree as the Japanese was using it as a marker to aim guns at Singapore. These days its illegal to cut any tree without permit. 

Just behind the Septir tree is another tall tree, Petai Kerayong. Its flowers are pollinated by bats, then those that are not pollinated end up on the ground like the one in the picture.

The Cannonball Tree is a sweet smelling tree. Its been called by its name because of its round sticky fruit that resembles a cannonball. It protects itself from crawling animals as it grows veins below its trunk.

Standing a few meters away from the Cannonball Tree is the Malayan Banyan. Fig trees such as this are called 'stranglers'. Once the sapling has established itself on the host plant, it will grow its roots down and eventually stranglers its host as it grows larger. (Side story: In the Philippines a common fig tree is the Balete. Known in local folklores where supernatural beings live and in some places sorcery and rituals are perform inside the chambers formed by the tree)

Lining the park trail is the Brazilian Ironwood, another common name for it is Leopard Tree. As its bark ages, its bark peels off to reveal colours ranging from light grey to whitish yellow. And you would think only humans who go for facials are vain, trees too can exfoliate.

The Common Red Stem Fig is one of the common plants cultivated by its fruits. This is pollinated by a specific type of fig wasp. Fig is the only tree that will produce fruit year round.

 Gelam or Melaleuca Cajuputi is a source of medicinal oil used for cough syrup and ointments for sprain and bruises. It leaves smells like eucalyptus when crushed. Kampong Glam is believe to have taken its name from this plant as it use to grow commonly in that area in the old days. It is also called a Paperbark Tree as the bark resembles like paper peeling. The bark smell like old books.

 The largest of the Madras Thorn is found in Fort Canning Park and has been given a Heritage Tree status. It is a bird tree as bird's uses the ferns as bird's nest and the fruits as food. As a Heritage Tree, the matured tree is maintained and conserved.

 There are a lot more trees in the park that can be explored. DIY walking trail guide are available in the Nparks website. Though I find it enjoyable to join the guided trail as our guide would give a more personal stories about the tree or the walk along the trail.

And so we end our trail all sweaty and then getting wet some more when the rain came pouring really hard... You can compare our faces from the first picture and now the last picture (LOL). But the morning was very enjoyable and fun. I'm looking forward to joining more trails like this in the future.