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March 25, 2008

Bottle Trees Near Simpang Kiri Park Connector, Sembawang Singapore

Bottle Tree Village At Simpang Kiri Park Connector, Sembawang

You will not find trees in Singapore that are stranger than those at Bottle Tree Village, where Jalan Memburong meets the Simpang Kiri Park Connector in Sembawang. As a free draw for patrons to its on-site restaurant, the Bottle Tree attraction should work well especially with free parking thrown in. However, I did not partake of any meal there, as this was an uninvited detour from nearby Sembawang Park.

Other than a small pond with several koi fishes to peep at, the star exhibit here is undoubtedly the Bottle Tree. Transplanted at a reputed cost of $100,000 from native southwest Queensland in Australia, these Bottle Trees (or Brachychiton Rupestris) earned their names due to the “spare tyres” around the mid trunk region. These trees are not uniform in trunk or height dimensions. They can grow to heights of 4 to 7 metres. The shorter the trees, the wider will be their trunks. The bark can age from a smooth, green surface to a furrowed gray layer as they mature. The canopy can spread to 4 metres and provide substantial shade. Leaves develop through five distinct stages.
1. Two seed leaves
2. Alternating single "finger" leaves up to 20cm long.
3. "Hand" leaves which are divided into 2,3,4,7, or 9 segments.
4. Groups of "finger" leaves.
5. Adult Leaves

Besides the study on trees, I learned that the beach at the back of Bottle Tree Village was worth accessing. While the rocky shore was nothing to shout about, the night breeze, sparse crowd and dim lights from distant ships raised a romantic mood. Discreet police presence and soldier patrols looking out for escaped JI fugitive Mas Selamat Kestari along the shoreline were unmistakable. Fortunately they did little to dampen the heady atmosphere.

Recommended for romancing couples, curious passers-by from Sembawang Park and cyclists looking for a pit stop along Simpang Kiri park connector.

Take care, be safe and be happy.
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