Rainforest at Central Core
The 1889 Gardens’ catalogue gave the following description of the Gardens’ Rain Forest ‘With one or two exceptions, this is the only piece of original jungle left on the island…. It gives the visitors some idea of the wonderful richness of tropical vegetation.’ This is still true today, where 314 species jostle for space in this 6-hectare fragment of primeval forest forming a multilayered complexity of herbs and ferns, shrubs, climbers and small, medium and large trees.The tallest canopy trees top 40 metres in height and include a good representation of Singapore’s original timber trees, such as our tallest native tree, the kempas, and several merantis in the Dipterocarpaceae, the most important timber tree family in the region.It is sobering to think that these venerable trees were tall and standing before Raffles had first dreamed of Singapore.
Not only rich in species, the Rainforest includes a wealth of species with economic importance, such as the rattans, fruit trees and the towering jelutong. With more than fifty per cent of its species representing plants that are rare in Singapore, the Rainforest certainly qualifies as a part of Singapore’s natural heritage.