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Nature Weekly
Short Notes on Nature Singapore

19 October 2014 | Ogiera (Eleutheranthera ruderalis) |

Ogiera or Eleutheranthera ruderalis (in botanical term) is a rather low profile herb that is rarely noticed by most folks. Both the common and botanical names are rather difficult to pronounce. It is considered a weed that colonise disturbed soil. Though originated from tropical America, it has naturalised in many part of the world due primarily to its fast-growing nature and ability to start producing seeds in a relatively short period of time.

This herb is part of my pot community for quite a while now. However, it can be easily removed as its roots do not entrench deep into the soil. In early August, one of them happened to germinate in a pot where there were 2 other seedlings, a Four O'clock Flower (Mirabilis jalapa) and a Pomegranate (Punica granatum). Originally, the plan was to grow Pomegranate in this pot. Unfortunately, even with over a hundred seeds placed on the in pot, only one seedling survive. Since there was a lot of vacant space available in the pot, I decided to place some seeds of the Four O'clock Flower in it. The Ogiera was not part of the plan.

Since the 3 seedlings kind of arranged themselves in a rather straight row and space out rather evenly, I thought of keeping the Ogiera to observe how the 3 fellows compete. The individual plant pictures below were taken a week later compared to the picture of the pot with 3 of them together.

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photo After about 2 months, the winner of the growth competition was clearly Ogiera. It had attained a height of about 40 cm, almost double that of the Four O'clock Flower though both started at the same height 2 months back. On top of that, the Ogiera was flowering and producing plenty of seeds while no sign of flower bud was seen on the Four O'clock Flower.

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Based on the few Ogiera that grew in the pots previously, the current one had already reach its maximum height and will eventually die in a few months' time. By then, it will have already dropped a sizable quantity of seeds on the soil around it. If the condition is not favourable, the seeds will simply lay dormant in the soil in await the next viable growing season.

Meanwhile, the Pomegranate in the centre is struggling to wrestle a space of its own from the 2 giants beside it. Hope it will hang on there.

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