Cambridge Road
Flowers seen along CTE near Cambridge Road in Singapore. Photo: Chan Chung Leong

Thundershowers after a hot dry spell are just what the arborist ordered for Singapore's flowering plants. From now till September, people can expect to catch Singapore's flora in full bloom, says National Parks Board (NParks) group director of streetscape Oh Cheow Sheng.

It's a second chance for nature-lovers who may have missed the earlier flowering season, which takes place in March and April.

The riot of colour in housing estates and along roads is the work of some of Singapore's more than 2,000 native species, as well as plants introduced from outside the region.

One standout is the 25m-tall trumpet tree, whose flowers are known to blanket the ground in a carpet of pink and white. A tip from Mr Oh: Drop by the Ayer Rajah Expressway near Hong Leong Garden, or the Central Expressway near Cambridge Road and the Moulmein Road exit, to catch the trumpet tree in action this week.

Trumpet tree
More Maniltoas along Yishun Avenue 2 in Singapore. Photo: Lee Shiyun

Trumpet trees are named for the trumpet shape of their flowers – and the same goes for the handkerchief tree, a small sturdy tree which hails from New Guinea and is used for furniture-making. The handkerchief tree is also known as pokok sapu tangan, or by its Latin name maniltoa.

One Facebook user posted a shot on the NParks Facebook page with the caption: "Not a good shot but the handkerchief trees around Yishun are full of 'flowers'!"

Not living around Yishun Avenue 2? To catch a glimpse of the large drooping foliage that resembles white handkerchiefs, Mr Oh also recommends University Road, Martin Road, Punggol Walk and Sengkang Square.

If bright neon shades are more to your liking, the yellow cat's claw ivy can be found in bloom along Havelock Road and Dunearn Road.

Visitors to the east coast are also in for a treat. Not only are oleander and bougainvillea flowering at East Coast Park, but the hot pink crepe myrtle is also blossoming along the centre divider of East Coast Parkway.

CTE expressway
Flowers seen along CTE near Cambridge Road in Singapore. Photo: Chan Chung Leong

NParks has brought back its two-year-old #sgblooms hashtag on social media for members of the public to share photographs of flowering plants. During the April flowering period this year and last year, the statutory board partnered with camera firm Nikon to run a photo contest and politicians such as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Acting Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung and Senior Minister of State Sim Ann joined in on their Facebook pages as well.

Shutterbugs should get in on the action quickly, as heavy rains can dash the flowers from their branches and cut short the blooming season.

Flowers seen along CTE near the Moulmein Road exit in Singapore. Photo: Andrew Tau


Written by Annabeth Leow for The Straits Times