Giant wildflower in Singapore stolen within days of its discovery

The elephant foot yam flower (left) and its stem (right) after it was removed. — Dr Lim Wee Kiak/Facebook and Singapore Wildlife Sightings/Facebook pix via TODAY
The elephant foot yam flower (left) and its stem (right) after it was removed. — Dr Lim Wee Kiak/Facebook and Singapore Wildlife Sightings/Facebook pix via TODAY

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SINGAPORE, June 8 — A giant wildflower that sprouted beside the walkway of Block 338 Sembawang was stolen last night, just days after it was discovered and photos of it were shared on social media.

Among those who had posted photos of the flower was Dr Lim Wee Kiak, Member of Parliament for Sembawang Group Representation Constituency, who said that he was very sad about the loss.

The flower is from a plant called Amorphophallus paeoniifolius (Dennst) Nicolson, more commonly known as the elephant foot yam or corpse flower as it emits a foul decaying odour.

Dr Lim told TODAY today that he had gone to take a look at the purple flower himself on Sunday evening after he saw someone else post about it on Facebook.

He then wrote a Facebook post about it later that same day, noting its size, measuring 45cm to 50cm across. He also included the location of the flower in his post.

On finding out about the flower being removed, he said: “I feel very sad. People can be more gracious. Nature’s beauty is for everyone, not just for individuals to take it away.

“I just hope everyone can respect nature a little bit more and let everybody have a chance to admire the beauty that nature can offer”.

The elephant foot yam is a tropical tuber crop and is primarily grown in regions such as Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the tropical Pacific islands. The whole flower is 40cm to 50cm tall and 30cm to 40cm wide.

Several Facebook users who learnt about the flower’s removal also expressed disappointment, with a few calling on the authorities to find the person who had taken it.

But Dr Lim said that since the flower was in the wild and at the side of the roadway, it did not belong to anybody. Therefore, its removal could not be labelled as a crime.

Moreover, there are no closed-circuit television surveillance cameras in the area, so it would be hard to find the person who had taken the flower.

“We have so much greenery and beautiful nature in Sembawang. The beauty of nature is for all of us to admire and enjoy,” Dr Lim said. “The grassroots and town council can help to promote public education in this aspect.” — TODAY

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