Our researchers at the Singapore Botanic Gardens discovered two new species of plants recently – Hanguana rubinea and Hanguana triangulata. The two species are not just new to science but are found only in Singapore! This makes the discovery especially significant.
Until these latest finds, botanists had assumed that there was only a single species, Hanguana malayana, in Singapore. But while examining a group of forest herbs belonging to the genus Hanguana, our researchers noticed remarkable differences in the plants, such as their size, flower structure, colour of the ripe fruits, and even the shapes of their seeds. As these plants are sometimes situated close to walking paths, visitors to Bukit Timah or MacRitchie would have passed these plants many times without realising that some of these are in fact new species.
With the discovery of the Zingiber singapurense (a ginger) last year, we now have three plant species found nowhere else in the world. These discoveries prove that size does not matter when it comes to biodiversity.
Besides the discovery of the new species, our researchers’ forest surveys have yielded other amazing results. For example, thirty plant species presumed to be extinct in Singapore have been rediscovered. And six species were found to be new records to Singapore.
These discoveries testify to the importance of biodiversity research. It allows us to better understand our local flora and fauna.
Incidentally, the two new Hanguana plant species have red and white berries, our national colours. At SG50, they are nature’s timely gift to us.
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