There was another purpose for my visit and that was to find the nutmeg trees that once graced the land which became the Istana Domain.
According to history, 100 acres of land belonging to Charles Prinsep’'s nutmeg plantation was bought over for the construction of Government House. And according to the Istana website,
I was optimistic …. even though I can’t tell a nutmeg tree from a clove tree.
A few nutmeg trees still grow in the grounds of the Istana. Clove and nutmeg trees in this part of the grounds recall the original Prinsep plantation.
I did not manage to find my nutmeg tree (or clove tree) in the end. But my flora search revealed some interesting plants.
papyrus paper, but I didn’t know you can find it in Singapore. Today, the plant is cultivated not for paper but for ornamental purposes. In fact it is nearly extinct in its native habitat in the Nile Delta.
photo from far). The plant is ornamental and I read that its small fruit is “theoretically edible like any banana”, according to this wikipedia entry.
Jelutong is a tree grown commercially for timber. I read here that it can be tapped for latex as well. In the past, Jelutong latex was an important source of chewing gum.
So I did not find my nutmeg tree. What a pity because such a tree may be a descendant or even a member of the original Prinsep plantation. If yg were there, he would be able to recognize one. In fact, he blogged about the few nutmeg trees in Lim Chu Kang. I think nutmeg trees are quite uncommon in Singapore.