The Singapore Herbarium (international acronym SING) houses a main collection of about 650,000 herbarium specimens, as well as a supporting spirit collection. The Herbarium collections mainly include material from the Malesian region (Peninsular Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Guinea) and adjacent areas (East Asia, mainland SE Asia, the Southwest Pacific), with the most extensive collections from Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia dating from the 1880s. Out of these, about 6,800 are type specimens.
Dr K.M. Wong (Wong_Khoon_Meng@nparks.gov.sg) is the Keeper of the Herbarium. Serena Lee (Serena_Lee@nparks.gov.sg) is the Herbarium Manager.
The Herbarium uses the Botanical Research and Herbarium Management System (BRAHMS) to computerize the plant collection data. To access images of type specimens held in the Herbarium, please click here. The Herbarium sends material on loan and exchange only to recognized botanical institutions (see Index Herbariorum), both locally and abroad.
Current taxonomic and systematic research in the Herbarium focuses on the Convolvulaceae (Dr George Staples), Orchidaceae (Dr Hubert Kurzweil), Zingiberaceae (Dr Jana Leong-Skornickova), Gentianaceae, Rubiaceae and the Poaceae-Bambusoideae (bamboos) (Dr K.M. Wong).
Dr Hubert Kurzweil (Hubert_Kurzweil@nparks.gov.sg) is involved in various studies on the Orchidaceae, continuing a historically significant attachment to the study of orchid biodiversity and culture at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. He has a special interest in orchid floral morphogenesis. His taxonomic work includes current revisions of genera such as Habenaria, Peristylus, Spathoglottis and Plocoglottis (for the Flora of Thailand), and the Calanthe group (for both the Flora of Thailand and Flora of Peninsular Malaysia). His other research contributes to the knowledge of the very diverse but as yet little-known orchid flora of Myanmar. Dr Kurzweil's specialist knowledge is also often consulted for orchid shows and congresses in Singapore and abroad, and also keeps an interest in South African orchid studies.
Dr Jana Leong-Skornickova (Jana_Skornickova@nparks.gov.sg) is working on Asian Zingiberaceae (gingers), a key research theme at the Singapore Botanic Gardens since the time of H.N. Ridley and R.E. Holttum. Her prime focus is the phylogeny and taxonomy of the turmeric genus Curcuma, which she is currently revising for the Indian Subcontinent. She is also carrying out research on the evolution of ploidy in economically important members of the Zingiberaceae. Her other research interests include plant nomenclature, and the ginger floras of the Indian subcontinent, mainland SE Asia (Flora of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam) and Borneo. Dr Leong-Skornickova's research and activities actively contribute to keeping current interest in the widely acclaimed Ginger Garden within the Singapore Botanic Gardens. She is Assistant Editor of The Garden's Bulletin Singapore.
Dr Michele Rodda (Michele_Rodda@nparks.gov.sg) focuses his research on the taxonomy and systematics of the highly diverse genus Hoya (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae, or milkweed subfamily). Despite having much horticultural interest, Hoya is still poorly investigated. Species richness, distribution, morphological variation between and within species, and ecology are current study areas. He has diagnosed new species from Borneo, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam, and is currently preparing various accounts of Hoya in the region, including Papua New Guinea, Brunei, Singapore and other Asian countries. Other botanical interests range from the history of botanical collections and the pioneering botanical explorations of SE Asia and Brazil, to the medicinal uses of plants and ex situ conservation.
Dr George Staples (George_Staples@nparks.gov.sg) is engaged in taxonomic studies of tropical Asian and Southeast Asian Convolvulaceae (morning glory or kang-kong family). Recent publications include revisions of Porana and allied genera, and taxonomic reviews of Rivea, Lepistemon, and new species of Operculina. There are taxonomic works in progress on Asian Ipomoea, Merremia, Neuropeltis, and Argyreia, as well as accounts for the floras of Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and other Asian countries. He has broad interests in botany, including the taxonomy of cultivated plants, invasive species issues, plant nomenclature, the history of botany (especially history of plant introductions), and the botany of useful and edible plants. He has published three books to date: A Tropical Garden Flora (2005); Hawai'i's Invasive Species (2001); and Ethnic Culinary Herbs (1999). Dr George Staples serves on the Editorial Board of the Edinburgh Journal of Botany.
Dr K.M. Wong (Wong_Khoon_Meng@nparks.gov.sg) specialises in the Southeast Asian flora, especially that of the Malay Peninsula and Borneo, with associated interests in the biogeography and plant endemism, rarity and conservation of the Sunda continental-shelf and adjacent Asia-Pacific regions. His research focuses on understanding the evolution and classification of woody bamboos (Bambusinae and related subtribes) and various gentianalean groups (Rubiaceae: notably tribes Gardenieae and Guettardeae; Gentianaceae: the Fagraea complex) although continuing distractions have even included lycophytes (particularly Selaginellaceae, recently revised for the Malay Peninsula). The vegetation and plant life of the region around Singapore form an overarching interest, with reforestation and enrichment technologies applicable to the tropics and ecosystem rehabilitation much in mind. Dr K.M. Wong is also Editor of the Gardens' Bulletin Singapore (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Herbarium also awards yearly SBG Research Fellowships and an H.M. Burkill Research Fellowship as full or part support for botanists who require to visit the Gardens and Herbarium for conducting taxonomic research related to the region's flora.
Cultivar Registration: Curcuma
In 2001, the Singapore Botanic Gardens was appointed by the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) as the International Registration Authority for Curcuma Cultivars. The permanent record for each registered cultivar, the standard portfolio, is lodged at the SING herbarium. We encourage growers to register their cultivar names promptly. More information and application forms for registering Curcuma cultivars can be found at http://curcuma.sbg.org.sg/
Assistance in Identification
Locally, the Herbarium plays an important advisory role in identifying both wild and cultivated plant species from Singapore. For information, please contact Ms Serena Lee, Herbarium Manager, at 64719870 or email her at email@example.com (charges apply).
Library of Botany and Horticulture
Research in the Singapore Botanic Gardens is supported by the Library of Botany and Horticulture, with a large collection of old and new, relevant books and periodicals. Click here to find out more.