Luffa cylindrica: Sponge Gourd

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Luffa is a genus of tropical and subtropical vines in the cucumber [Cucurbitaceae] family.

In everyday non-technical usage, the luffa, also spelled loofah, usually means the fruit of the two species Luffa cylindrica [syn. Luffa aegyptiaca] and Luffa acutangula. The fruit of these species is cultivated and eaten as a vegetable. The fruit must be harvested at a young stage of development to be edible. When the fruit is fully ripened, it is very fibrous. The fully developed fruit is the source of the loofah scrubbing sponge which is used in bathrooms and kitchens. Luffa are not frost-hardy, and require 150 to 200 warm days to mature.

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^ Meet some pollinators 🙂

The fruit section of Luffa cylindrica may be allowed to mature and used as a bath or kitchen sponge after being processed to remove everything but the network of xylem fibers. If the loofah is allowed to fully ripen and then dry out on the vine, the flesh disappears leaving only the fibrous skeleton and seeds, which can be easily shaken out. Marketed as luffa or loofah, the sponge is used as a body scrub.

Photos: Pasir Ris Park and Nature Reserve, Singapore [20160228]

Source: Wikipedia

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Adenanthera pavonina: Saga Seed Tree,  Red Bead Tree

Adenanthera pavonina is a perennial and non-climbing species of leguminous tree. Its uses include food and drink, traditional medicine, and timber.

Adenanthera pavonina is commonly called Red Lucky Seed.  Other common names for the tree include Red Bead Tree, Red Sandalwood Tree, Saga [Malay, Indonesia]. The tree is common within the tropics of the old world.

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This tree is useful for nitrogen fixation, and it is often cultivated for forage, as an ornamental garden plant or urban tree, and as a medicinal plant. For example, the young leaves can be cooked and eaten. The raw seeds are toxic, but may be eaten when cooked.

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Adenanthera pavonina seeds have long been a symbol of love in China, and its name in Chinese is xiang si dou (Chinese: 相思豆), or “mutual love bean”. The beauty of the seeds has led to them being used as beads for jewellery.

Photos: Pasir Ris Park and Nature Reserve, Singapore [20160228]

Source: Wikipedia

 

Morinda citrifolia: Noni

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Morinda citrifolia is a tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Its native range extends through Southeast Asia and Australasia, and the species is now cultivated throughout the tropics and widely naturalised.

English common names include great morinda, Indian mulberry, noni, beach mulberry, and cheese fruit.

Despite its strong smell and bitter taste, the fruit is nevertheless eaten as a famine food and, in some Pacific islands, even a staple food, either raw or cooked.

Photo: Jakarta, Indonesia [20140611]

Source: Wikipedia

Lavandula dentata: Serenity Lavender

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Lavandula dentata is a species of flowering plant in the Lamiaceae family, native to the Mediterranean, the Atlantic islands and the Arabian peninsula. Growing to 60 cm tall, it has gray-green, linear or lance-shaped leaves with toothed edges and a lightly woolly texture. The long-lasting, narrow spikes of purple flowers, topped with pale violet bracts, first appear in late spring. The whole plant is strongly aromatic with the typical lavender fragrance.

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Its native habitat includes low hills with limestone substrates amidst other shrubs. It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant and its essential oil is used in perfumes.

Photos: Flower DomeGardens by the BaySingapore [20140509]

Source: Wikipedia

Lavandula angustifolia: English lavender

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Lavandula angustifolia [lavender or English lavender, though not native to England; also common lavender, true lavender, narrow-leaved lavender], formerly Lavandula officinalis, is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to the western Mediterranean, primarily the Pyrenees and other mountains in northern Spain.

It is a strongly aromatic shrub growing as high as 1 to 2 metres [3.3 to 6.6 ft] tall. The leaves are evergreen, 2–6 centimetres [0.79–2.36 in] long, and 4–6 millimetres [0.16–0.24 in] broad. The flowers are pinkish-purple [lavender-coloured], produced on spikes 2–8 cm [0.79–3.15 in] long at the top of slender, leafless stems 10–30 cm [3.9–11.8 in] long.

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English lavender is commonly grown as an ornamental plant. It is popular for its colourful flowers, its fragrance and its ability to survive with low water consumption.

The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit:  ‘Alba’ [large white], ‘Beechwood Blue’, ‘Hidcote’, ‘Imperial Gem’, ‘Miss Katherine’, ‘Nana Alba’ [dwarf white], ‘Richard Gray’, ‘Sawyers’, ‘Sussex’.

Photos: Flower DomeGardens by the BaySingapore [20140509]

Source: Wikipedia

Nelsonia canescens: Blue Pussyleaf

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Nelsonia canescens belongs to the group of annual and biennial plants, is a species in the genus Nelsonia which contains approximately 4 to 6 species and belongs to the family of the Acanthaceae [Genus: Nelsonia; Family: Acanthaceae;  subfamily: Nelsonioideae]. Perennial herb with several trailing stems from a central taproot or rootstock, a ground cover.

Nelsonia canescens is a weedy species. The fresh leaves have a sour lemon-like taste and are often reported to be eaten.

Native: AFRICA.

Naturalized: naturalized elsewhere.

Photo: Gardens by the BaySingapore [20140122, 20140305]

Source: Hortipedia

Cassia fistula: Golden Shower Tree

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Cassia fistula, known as the golden shower tree and by other names, is a flowering plant in the family Fabaceae. The species is native to the Indian Subcontinent and adjacent regions of Southeast Asia. It ranges from southern Pakistan eastward throughout India to Myanmar and Thailand and south to Sri Lanka. It is the national tree of Thailand, and its flower is Thailand’s national flower.

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It is a popular ornamental plant and is an herbal medicine.

Photos: Woodlands Venue 3Singapore [20140306]

Source: Wikipedia