Plant Group
Plant Groups

There are many ways to group the plants based on their features or habitats. Botanically or scientifically, they can be grouped in plant families. The reason for having this section is to help me to find them more easily in my plant pictorial database as the collection gets larger in volume. Botanical names are difficult to remember for most of us, except for botanist. Common names may be easier to remember but not all plants, especially those found in the forest and rarely known, have a common name. The grouping criteria may be arbitrary but they do serve their purpose (i.e. ease of locating them). Hope it will do the same for you when you come by.

Ferns and Fern Allies | Pictures |

Ferns are part of the plant kingdom under the division Pteridophyta. They have leaves (called fronds) that serve the same function of making food from sunlight as do the flowering plants. However, they do not flower and hence do not produce seeds. Instead, ferns have specialized leaves that produce spores. The spores are not exactly seeds but go through a unique life cycle before new plants emerge from them. Some so called ferns are actually fern allies.

Online resources: | About Ferns |

Palms | Pictures |

A typical and common representative of this group is the coconut tree. Palm is the common name of the plant family called Arecaceae. They are flowering plants with one seed-leaf (monocotyledon). The leaves of palms are usually large, in the shape of a fan (palmate) or a feather (pinnate). Each leaf consists of a leaf stem (petiole) and leaf blade. Some plants with a 'palm' in their common name do not belong to the palm family (e.g. Traveller’s Palm). In addition, some palm-like plants are not part of palm family too (e.g. cycads, pandans and agaves).

Online resource: | About Palms |

Grasses | Pictures: Poaceae , Cyperaceae |

True grasses belong to the plant family called Poaceae. What we often refer to as grass includes sedges that belong to another family (Cyperaceae) as this group of plants do look very similar to the grasses. Also, true grasses include bamboos which seem to be an odd fit in view of its size when compared to the other members of the family.

Online resource: | About Grasses and Sedges |

Climbing and Creeping Plants | Pictures |

It is somewhat difficult to determine who is a climber or creeper. These plants usually cannot stand upright on their own. They either extend along the ground or hold on to something to move higher to get the maximum exposure to sunlight. To facilitate the climb, some have developed features such as tendril and hooks to help them hold onto any support while they move upward. Not all of them have weak stem, some can be hard and woody. The following are not included in this grouping: Rattan being grouped under palm family (Arecaceae), Climbing ferns being grouped under ferns and grasses being grouped under the family Poaceae and family Cyperaceae.

Forest Plants | Pictures |

This is my favourite group. Though there is little forested area left in Singapore, what remain is still quite fascinating. Hopefully, the remaining forest will be kept as it is for as long as possible. In this section, I have kept to forest plants seen at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Central Catchment Nature Reserve. In the past, Singapore probably have the same forest vegetation seen in Malaysia but over time, many of the species have probably gone extinct here or a few may be waiting to be discovered.

Online resources: | Bukit Timah Nature Reserve | Central Catchment Nature Reserve |

Aquatic, Seaside and Mangrove Plants | Pictures |

This group of plant thrive in wetland. Many of them will only survive in such habitat. They may live in the water, near ponds or rivers and along seaside or in mangrove forest. A good representation of such plants can be found at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and the Nee Soon Swamp Forest.

Online resources: | Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve | Freshwater Swamp Forest |

Weedy Plants | Pictures |

Weeds in general refer to undesired plants that grow wild among desired plants. There is no standard definition for weeds. The term “weeds” is usually use by folks in the horticultural or agricultural trades. In the traditional or alternative medicine field, weeds are important ingredients in their therapeutic concoctions.

Online resources: | Wild Flowers of Singapore |