What's Blooming

There's always something to marvel about around our lush landscape. Learn more of our blooming highlights in the Gardens!

Sydney Rock Orchid
(Dendrobium speciosum)

Feature date: 26 FEB 2020

Good things are worth the wait! This Sydney rock orchid (Dendrobium speciosum var. speciosum) was planted by our founding CEO, Dr.Tan Wee Kiat, in December 2013, and only started blooming in May 2019.

Native to the open forest granite cliffs of southeast Australia, this hardy orchid with long racemes of over a hundred fragrant flowers not only loves full sun, but some of its southern forms can also withstand winters as low as 2°C, making it a popular species for widespread cultivation.

We're glad we waited for this orchid to establish itself, so come admire its magnificent blooms with us in Flower Dome's Australian Garden!

What's Blooming - Dumbcane

Dumbcane
(Dieffenbachia seguine)

Feature date: 19 Feb 2020

Look familiar? We bet you've never seen this overgrown houseplant flower before! Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia seguine) is native to the low-light forest floors of the tropical Americas. Like all members of the aroid family (Araceae), which also includes Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium, dumbcane produces the characteristic aroid, spike-shaped inflorescence called a spadix, covered by a modified leaf called a spathe - in an elegant, green, trumpet-like form.

Named 'dumbcane' because all its parts contain irritating calcium oxalate crystals which can cause throat swelling and speechlessness if ingested, it's best to keep this common houseplant away from curious toddlers and pets.

Come marvel at our huge, 3m tall, flowering specimen in Secret Life of Trees, and see how big these plants can get!

What's Blooming - Lady of the Night

Lady of the Night
(Brassavola nodosa)

Feature date: 12 Feb 2020

Brassavola nodosa, an epiphytic orchid, is found in Central and Southern America, including the Caribbeans and West Indies. In its natural habitat of lowland tropical forests or mangrove swamps, it is found from sea level to 500m in elevation. A must-have for orchid hobbyists due to its low-maintenance cultivation requirements, it rewards the successful grower with pale green, white-lipped flowers that can last as long as a month if not pollinated!

These blooms also have a heavenly, jasmine-like fragrance, emitted in the evenings to entice its nocturnal moth pollinators to visit. This gives this orchid its common name: 'lady of the night'!

Find them in bloom at our Orchids of the Amazon display in Cloud Forest!

What's Blooming - Celosias

Celosias (Celosia spp. & cvr.)

Feature date: 5 Feb 2020

Celosias (Celosia species & cultivars) have been a popular choice of plants for Chinese New Year decoration in Singapore! Named from the Greek word kelos for 'burning', the colourful flowerheads of celosias not only brighten up the house but hold auspicious meanings. The feathery sprays of the plumed celosia (C. argentea var. plumosa) resemble the tail of the mythological Chinese phoenix, while the cockscomb (C. argentea var. cristata) bears ridged, wavy flowerheads shaped like a rooster's crest, where the fowl is a symbol of good fortune.

These purple wheat celosias (Celosia spicata'Spiky Purple') are named for the resemblance of their flowerheads to ears of wheat (Triticum aestivum). In our Year of the Rat display, wheat celosias surround our two lucky golden rat statues, representing an abundance of harvest. In ancient times, some people believed the presence of rats in the household symbolised wealth, as it indicated that there were extra food and grains for the rodents to steal.

Look out for the many different celosias at Gardens by the Bay, from the Flower Dome's Dahlia Dreams display to the outdoor decorations welcoming you into the Golden Garden!

What's Blooming - Golden Rat Tail Cactus

Golden Rat Tail Cactus (Cleistocactus winteri)

Feature date: 29 Jan 2020

Commonly known as the golden rat tail cactus (Cleistocactus winteri) for its stems covered in fuzzy, golden-brown spines, this cactus is almost as rare as this year of the Golden Rat, which occurs once every 60 years in the Chinese zodiac! Native to just two cliffside populations in Bolivia, this unique cactus is becoming more common in the horticultural market due to its relative ease in propagation.

A member of the genus Cleistocactus, Greek for ‘closed cactus’, for its flowers which barely open, this species produces abundant orange-pink tubular flowers during spring and summer, borne directly on trailing stems up to 1.5m long. These stems are filled with water-storing tissue and covered in spines - modified leaves or shoots that are a common evolutionary adaptation in cacti, both as protection from being munched on by thirsty herbivores, and to deflect intense sunlight.

Our golden rat tail cactus only flowers two to three times a year in Flower Dome, so visit it now near the baobabs in celebration of the year of the Golden Rat!

What's Blooming - Dahlia

Dahlia (Dahlia hybrids and varieties)

Feature date: 22 Jan 2020

Look at these flowers - they're larger than my hand!
In fact, these dahlias can be larger than your head!

Carefully cultivated in-house by Gardens by the Bay to ensure maximal flower size and show-quality blooms, these dahlia varieties are informally classified as 'dinnerplate dahlias,' with flowers up to 30cm in diameter! That's the size of a dinner plate! Native to Mexico (where Dahlia pinnata is the national flower) through Colombia, the Dahlia genus currently comprises 42 species, all herbaceous tuberous perennials from which hundreds of cultivars have been bred.

In our new Dahlia Dreams - The Heavenly Race display, you'll find over 70 dahlia varieties with different floral forms, such as the pompom, cactus, and waterlily. Come check them out in the Flower Dome, take a selfie for scale with our dinnerplate dahlias, and share it with us!

What's Blooming - Herald's Trumpet

Herald's Trumpet (Beaumontia grandiflora)

Feature date: 15 Jan 2020

These huge, white, fragrant, trumpet-shaped blooms belong to the herald's trumpet (Beaumontia grandiflora) a sturdy, ever-blooming woody vine (liana) native to South and Southeast Asia.

Like many climbing lianas in the frangipani family (Apocynaceae), they produce follicles: large, dry, woody fruit which split along a single seam, revealing hundreds of seeds, each with a silky, parachute-like, tuft of hairs to catch the breeze and drift far from their parent plant. Our two fruits have been maturing for over a year and one is finally starting to dry and split! We'll save the seeds for propagation, but come find our spectacular planting of herald's trumpet spanning the railings of Meadow Bridge, near the Planet sculpture!

What's Blooming - Slender Dayflower

Slender Dayflower (Commelina erecta)

Feature date: 13 Jan 2020

Beat the morning blues with these morning beauties! Native throughout the Americas, Africa, and India, the Slender Dayflower belongs to the spiderwort family, along with familiar ornamentals like the oyster plant (Tradescantia spathacea) and the wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina). As its common name suggests, this sprawling plant blooms in the morning, putting out flowers with two ear-like, blue petals and another smaller, translucent petal below them. Each flower is only open for a few hours and will wither by midday, so get up early to see these morning bloomers at the Floral Clock and Fruits & Flowers garden!

What's Blooming - Bear's Breeches

Cycnodes Super Swan

Feature date: 2 Jan 2020

Don't you think these orchids resemble a flock of golden swans? The Cycnodes Super Swan has waxy, greenish-yellow, spicy-scented blooms, each with a gracefully curved staminate (male) column that, when viewed from the side, look like a swan's neck!

A man-made genus, Cycnodes is a hybrid between Cycnoches and Mormodes orchid. Two of the ancestral species of Cycnodes Super Swan, Cycnoches warscewiczii and Cynoches chlorochilon, are found in the Amazon rainforest. These ancestors confer the long, curved column trait: 'Cycnoches' means 'swan's neck'.

Find Cycnodes Super Swan at Cloud Forest's special ‘Orchids of the Amazon’ display!

What's Blooming - Bear's Breeches

Bear's Breeches (Acanthus mollis)

Feature date: 26 Dec 2019

This beautiful perennial is Acanthus mollis, a member of the Acanthaceae family, which also includes the familiar Popping Pod (Ruellia simplex). 

Native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe and northwestern Africa, it can grow up to 1.5m in height, with a flower spike (inflorescence) over 40 cm tall and bearing up to 120 individual creamy white flowers. Its puzzling common name of 'bear's breeches' can be attributed to an English misrepresentation of the Latin term 'branca ursina,' or 'bear claw,' referencing its spiny floral bracts! The spiny-edged, lobed Acanthus leaves are also a little-known, if familiar design motif, crowning the tops of Corinthian columns--a key feature of Greco-Roman architecture. 

Find the creamy white flowers of this varigated-leaf variety, Acanthus mollis ‘Whitewater’ blooming at the Mediterranean Garden in Flower Dome!

What's Blooming - Felt-capped Catasetum

Felt-capped Catasetum  (Catasetum pileatum)

Feature date: 18 Dec 2019

Native to Trinidad through Ecuador, including the Amazon rainforest, Catasetum pileatum has fascinating reproductive biology! Most orchids have perfect flowers with both male and female parts, but Catasetum orchids are gender diphasic -- a plant can produce male or female flowers, though almost never both at once! Male flowers develop most frequently in Catasetum, and in some species the male and female flowers look so different that researchers were fooled into thinking they were completely different species!

The male flowers of the Felt-capped Catasetum (Catasetum pileatum) are usually ivory-white with a yellow spot on the lip, whereas the female flowers (not shown) are yellow-green with a hood-shaped lip at the top! Shown here are the male flowers of Catasetum pileatum 'Jumbo Green', bred to have large, yellow-green male flowers. In the wild, jewel-toned male Eulossine bees visit the male flowers to collect scented compounds attractive to female bees, but as they do so, they often trip a tiny lever, shooting the pollinia out of the flower and onto the bee's back, in the perfect position for pollinating a female flower! Come see these amazing orchids at the Orchids of the Amazon display in Cloud Forest!

Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)

Feature date: 11 Dec 2019

This unassuming yellow flower has an amazing fragrance! Native to Southeast Asia, Ylang ylang (say it: 'ee-lahng ee-lahng'; Cananga odorata) is most commonly found as a tree up to 40m tall, but a shrubby, dwarf form (var. fruticosa) with long, curling flowers is also widely planted. Night-blooming flowers on both forms grow increasingly fragrant as they mature from light green to bright yellow over a few days, releasing the most scent from midnight to 10am. People across South and Southeast Asia have been using these highly scented flowers as ornaments and votive offerings for centuries, but the Western world is perhaps most familiar with Ylang ylang as the primary scent component of one of the world's most iconic perfumes.

Can you guess the name of the perfume? Come to the last 'Of Seeds and Senses' walking tour this Saturday, featuring the sense of smell, and find out! Sniff the Ylang ylang in the Discovery garden and many other fragrant plants for yourself!

What's Blooming - Poinsettia Relatives - Jamaican Poinsettia

Poinsettia Relatives (Euphorbia spp.)

Feature date: 04 Dec 2019

While vibrant poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) often have the Christmas limelight, they are not the only ones decorated in red this season!

Two poinsettia relatives, the Jamaican poinsettia (Euphorbia punicea) and the painted spurge (Euphorbia heterophylla var. cyathophora), also produce red bracts - modified leaves that resemble petals to attract pollinators. While the Jamaican poinsettia has bracts that are completely red, the painted spurge have crimson blotches on their fiddle-shaped leaves that appear to be "painted" on. Like poinsettia, these species are native to the tropical Americas, although the Jamaican poinsettia is only found naturally in Jamaica. Both species can be found throughout the tropics and subtropics of the world, with the Jamaican poinsettia introduced as a succulent, dry-garden ornamental and the painted spurge now naturalised in wastelands and open fields.

Find these poinsettia cousins at the recently relandscaped Floral Clock lookout in Secret Life of Trees at World of Plants!

Neonauclea padilla

Neonauclea padilla

Feature date: 27 Nov 2019

This beautifully spherical flower head belongs to Neonauclea pallida!

A shrub or small tree up to 7m tall, this distant relative of coffee and ixora is also a member of the economically important Rubiaceae family. Resembling a pincushion, the flower head is packed with tiny, cream-coloured tubular flowers each featuring a pin-like, pure white style. ‘Pallida’ means "pale," referring to the flower colour, and like many other white-flowered plants, this species is moth-pollinated.

Native to Southern Thailand through Peninsular Malaysia, this plant is considered locally extirpated in Singapore, but you can find it in Fruits and Flowers at Gardens by the Bay, as well as along the pathway between Marina Gardens Drive and Dragonfly Lake.

Amazon Warczewiczella (<i>Warczewiczella amazonica</i>)

Amazon Warczewiczella (Warczewiczella amazonica)

Feature date: 20 Nov 2019

Boasting the largest flowers of its genus, up to 7cm in diameter, this understated beauty is the Amazon Warczewiczella (Warczewiczella amazonica)!

A hot to warm-growing epiphytic orchid growing at elevations between 150 to 1,000 metres, it is native to the damp forests of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The solitary, lightly-scented flower is pure white except for the delicate purple streaks on its large lip petal. One of the world's biodiversity hotspots, the lowland Amazon rainforest is home to an unparalleled variety of life, including over 700 orchid species.

Come explore the exotic and beautiful orchids at the new Orchids of the Amazon display in Cloud Forest!

COMMON LANTANA (<i>LANTANA CAMARA 'SPREADING SUNSET'<i>)

COMMON LANTANA (LANTANA CAMARA 'SPREADING SUNSET')

Feature date: 13 Nov 2019

These glowing orange flowers belong to a cultivar of the Common Lantana (Lantana camara'Spreading Sunset')!

Native to Central America and the Caribbean, this spreading shrub is a widely-planted ornamental in Singapore, where it is also known as 'bunga tahi ayam' - literally 'chicken poo flower' in Malay, for the musky smell of its crushed leaves. Their attractive flowers, however, emit a tutti-frutti scent with a hint of pepper and change colours as they age. This cultivar, in particular, darkens from yellow to orange. Others bear a rainbow of colours with a palette of whites, pinks, purples and reds. Birds love the dark purple berries produced by the wilder, fertile plants, and the species has thus become naturalised and even been regarded as invasive in many parts of the tropics and subtropics.

Spot this 'Spreading Sunset' spilling over the planting beds outside of Cloud Forest, to the far right of the Friends of the Gardens Centre!

Cacao Tree (<i>Theobroma cacao</i>)

Cacao Tree (Theobroma cacao)

Feature date: 6 Nov 2019

These delicate flowers of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) are the oft-overlooked precursor to chocolate! Like papaya or figs, the flowers on this short Central American tree emerge directly from the trunk and older branches -- a phenomenon called cauliflory.

Named Theobroma, or 'food of the gods', for the cacao seeds, which are fermented, dried, roasted, and processed into chocolate, another overlooked part of the plant is the fruit pulp. Reminiscent of mangosteen, the tangy, sweet, cottony, white pulp clings tightly to the maroon-coloured seeds and can be pressed to extract a fresh fruit juice. Want to learn more about our exotic edible plants? Visit our cacao trees in Colonial Garden! What’s more, sign up for our next 'Of Seeds and Senses' walking tour this Saturday, 9 November!

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Midnight Horror (<i>Oroxylum indicum</i>)

Midnight Horror (Oroxylum indicum)

Feature date: 30 Oct 2019

Creeping around a tropical forest on a dark and rainy night, you shuffle through the wet leaves. Something cracks loudly underfoot and a lightning flash illuminates the ground around you littered with bones! Meet the midnight horror (Oroxylum indicum)!

Native to the humid forests of East Asia, this partly-deciduous medium-sized tree has several creepy features. The leaf stalks (petioles) have bulbous ends that detach from both branches and leaf blades, leaving woody segments that look alarmingly like bones! Its smelly, purple night,-blooming flowers are pollinated by bats, developing sword-like seed capsules up to 1.5m long, alluding to another common name 'Tree of Damocles.' Visit the gardens this Halloween, and find this tree in Fruits and Flowers or Secret Life of Trees by its narrow trunk and bone-like stems beneath!

Singapore Frangipani (<i>Plumeria obtusa</i>)

Singapore Frangipani (Plumeria obtusa)

Feature date: 23 Oct 2019

Certain plants are regarded with much superstition and in Southeast Asia, one such 'taboo' plant is the Singapore Frangipani (Plumeria obtusa).

Despite its common name, this tree is native to the rocky, sandy coasts of the Caribbean and Central America. Widely cultivated in the tropics, the fragrant white flowers bear several uses where, in Hawai'i, they are strung into flower garlands called lei, and in Cambodia, they are used as temple offerings. However, in much of Southeast Asia, the Singapore Frangipani is associated with death, as the hardy, low-maintenance trees are often planted at cemeteries for their white blossoms to fall on graves. The nocturnal fragrance of the flowers is also believed to be linked to spirits and may attract these supernatural beings at night. With all these superstitions, it's no wonder that many people in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia avoid having these trees planted near or in their homes!

<i>Rhododendron</i>

Rhododendron

Feature date: 16 Oct 2019
  • Flower Dome

Named for the Greek words rodon, meaning 'rose' and dendron, meaning 'tree', Rhododendron is a genus of over 1000 species of late spring-blooming shrubs and trees, valued for their big, colourful bunches of rose-like flowers! Either deciduous or evergreen, most rhododendron species are native to the deep valleys of the Himalayas, but are also found across Asia, Europe, and North America. 

The tall, stout, leathery-leafed varieties and species with larger flowers and 10 or more stamens are commonly known as rhododendrons, whereas azaleas refer to the shorter, thin-stemmed and leafed species or hybrids with 5-6 stamens. Spot the differences in our Rhododendron Radiance display in Flower Dome, then cross to the Cloud Forest to find their tropical Indo-Pacific cousins, the Vireya rhododendrons! 

Catch over 80 varieties of these beauties at Rhododendron Radiance, from now till 28 Oct.

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