Pink Mempat Flowers In Serangoon Look Like Sakuras, They’re Native To Singapore

We’re now in the 2nd half of Mar, and for Japanophiles, that’s when sakura season begins.

Ordinarily, this is the peak season for Japan tourism. But for the 2nd year running, foreigners haven’t been able to visit the country to see sakura, thanks to Covid-19.

That means we’ll just have to find a way to enjoy “sakura” without leaving our shores. For example, visiting the Gardens By The Bay’s sakura display or a sakura-themed cafe.

There’s another low-budget option: Head down to Serangoon Park Connector, where you can gaze at “sakura” for free.

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If you just squint a little, and ignore our humid climate, you may just convince yourself that you’re visiting Japan in spring.

Beautiful blooms spotted on 15 Mar

A Ms Kalpana Mehta shared photos of the blooms in a post on Monday (15 Mar) at the Nature Society (Singapore) Facebook page.

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She referred to the flowers as “cherry blossoms”, as like most people they reminded her of the erstwhile symbol of Japan.

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The netizen also asked the Internet to help her identify the plant, to which a helpful commenter replied that it’s called cratoxylum formosum, or Pink Mempat.

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According to him, they can be found in Singapore’s park connectors.

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‘Sakuras’ seen along Serangoon Park Connector

Indeed, when asked where these “sakura” were found, Ms Mehta replied that they were at the Serangoon Park Connector.

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The Serangoon Park Connector has idyllic surroundings with a path where you can stroll or cycle alongside the Serangoon River.

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Apparently the portion where she saw the Pink Mempat was near the Rio Vista condominium.

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From the photos, the condo can be seen between the branches in the background.

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Pink Mempat is native to Singapore

According to the National Parks Board (NParks), the Pink Mempat when in full bloom has a crown of light-pink flowers nestled among reddish foliage.

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More interestingly, it’s native to Singapore.

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Thus, it’s probably accurate to say that Singapore has our very own version of “sakura”!

Red Powderpuff seen the next day

It seems like Ms Mehta is on a roll, as the next day, she saw totally different but equally gorgeous flowers in bloom.

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In a post on Tuesday (16 Mar), she identified these bright red wonders as the Red Powderpuff.

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She also remarked on how from afar, the flowers looked like rambutans.

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Up close, though, they look more like poms poms or the feather dusters.

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Red Powderpuff prefers full sun

According to NParks, the Red Powderpuff, or calliandra haematocephala, is a native of Borneo island and Bolivia.

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They thrive in the full sun, as such the hot weather in Feb probably caused them to flourish.

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As they’re found as shrubs or small trees, they can be seen in across Singapore in parks or around the HDB playground areas, said the Singapore Plants Lover blog.

‘Sakura’ in Singapore isn’t too shabby

Perhaps one thing good about the pandemic is that Singaporeans seem to have become more appreciative of what we have right here in our island.

Before Covid-19, we would just jet off to Japan to see sakura, but now that we can’t travel we may start realising that our “sakura” in Singapore isn’t too shabby either.

And better still, these and many other kinds of stunning blooms are just spouting alongside our roads and public places, absolutely free to view and snap photos of for the ‘gram.

If you see more “sakura” or other wildflowers in Singapore, do share them with us!

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Featured image adapted from Facebook and Facebook.