Saturday, May 18, 2013

Greening Singapore with temperate weeds?

2013 logo for Singapore's National Park Service
© Singapore National Parks, fair use.

I recently recieved an e-mail from Singapore and this nice logo above was attached to the e-mail.  It celebrates 50 years of Greening Singapore by their National Parks service.  I have never been to Singapore, but I have heard and read about its fantastic tropical flora and fauna, and how this country supports environmental sustainability.

The issue here are the flowers in the logo.  The trees appear to be tropical trees, but the nice wildflowers in the foreground appears to be mostly temperate weeds.  Maybe these are common in Singapore as well, but wouldn't you have wanted to highlight tropical flowers such as orchids, hibiscus, or maybe even some nice native wildflowers. Singapore is nearly on the equator, so about as far away you can get from our temperate flora and seasons.

The wildflowers in question appear to be (from left to right):

Close-up of logo above.
A thistle? (Cirsium?, Asteraceae) {also known as a common weed}
A hawkweed or dandelion? (Taraxacum, Crepis, Hieracium?, Asteraceae) {another weed}
An oxeeye daisy? (Leucanthemum vulgare, Asteraceae)

Close-up of logo above.
a blue bell (Campanula, Campanulaceae)

These would be the kind of flowers you find in (well, maybe outside...) London, for example, and they are typical of temperate areas.  I can't help wonder if the company that designed the logo just went online and picked any pretty flowers they could find, or sent out the work order to a designer without thinking about what plants that would be appropriate for this particular place. Of course there is artistic freedom, but in this case, the logo is supposed to celebrate the work of making Singapore a more green tropical city. 

If any Singaporean botanists read this, please let me know what you think, because I would love to have your feedback on this.