Flora and Fauna


I have recently begun encouraging The Preschooler to keep a nature journal to document (in drawings and collages of found objects [seeds, leaves]) her observations of the flora and fauna in our neighborhood. The other day, she pointed out a tree that I’d never taken note of before—a Maniltoa browneoides, or handkerchief tree. The young leaves of this tree cascade from its branches and resemble soft white handkerchiefs; in a few days, these pinnately compound leaves will “harden” and turn a shiny green. This tree looked more like “an-entire-pile-of-linen-sheets-falling-out-of-the-cupboard tree” than a “handkerchief tree!” It was so spectacular. Maniltoa browneoides are native to New Guinea, but cultivated in Singapore, according to Siyang Teo of uforest.org, who I reached out to, along with @Hopeily, to help me identify this plant.

We also spotted what I thought was a Idea leuconoe chersonesia, or mangrove tree nymph, at a nearby playground. Further research indicates that it was probably not this rare, mangrove-dwelling butterfly that was once thought extinct, but its cousin, Idea leuconoe clara, which is native to Taiwan. This Taiwanese subspecies has been successfully bred by the Singapore Zoo and is rather common.