Awakening the Roots: Mahkota Dewa Is Medicinal, Pandan Plant Care, Snail Removal & More, Home & Design News & Top Stories

Mahkota Dewa valued as a medicinal plant

This plant was given to me by a Chinese doctor a few years ago. Now he is bearing fruit. What is its name and what can it be used for?

Tar by Phua Cheng

The shrub depicted is botanically known as Phaleria macrocarpa. Its common names include Mahkota Dewa and the Crown of God. It can grow as a shrub or small tree and thrives in filtered sunlight outdoors. It also produces fragrant white flowers.

The bright red fruit is poisonous and should not be eaten without prior treatment and monitoring. The leaves, branches, fruits and seeds of the plant are used in traditional medicine and are often cultivated for this purpose.

The shrub is a basil plant with aromatic leaves

What is this plant ? I grew it from a packet of holy basil seeds and it doesn’t look like the photo on the packaging. It also has a citrus scent.

Carol Teo


Your photo shows a basil plant (Ocimum basilicum) which is a separate species from holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum).

The Sweet Basil series has several notable cultivars. A few of them are known to have leaves with a citrus scent, such as lemon and lime basil. Your plant could be one of them. Buy seeds from reputable suppliers for more reliable products and for reliable germination rates.

Awl snails can be removed with watermelon bait

My potted plants were infested with tiny snails. Where do they come from and how do I get rid of them?

Tan Tock Beng


The snails shown are probably punch snails, which may not be attracted to commercially available snail pellets. Use watermelon skins as a bait, placing them on the ground so that the white part of the skin is facing down. You can then remove the snails attracted to the skins.

To manage the problem, removing or cleaning up potential snail hiding places is essential. In a garden, these are usually damp, shady spaces such as leaf debris and flower pots.

The plant is the flower of the crown

Where can I find Erukkan leafy plant in Singapore? It has medicinal value and is considered a natural remedy for heel pain in Sri Lanka. Also, where can I buy spice plants from the National Parks Office?

Shirley sivakumaran


The plant you are interested in is the crown flower and its botanical name is Calotropis gigantea. It grows like a lanky shrub with leaves that feed the caterpillars of the Plains Tiger and Common Crow butterflies. As such, this plant is likely to be more sought after by eco gardeners who plant a butterfly garden. Note that damaged parts of the plant produce toxic milky sap.

The Crown Flower plant is available for sale at some large commercial nurseries. NParks sells a selection of different plants each quarter at Rake Spade in HortPark.

Keep the pandan plant evenly moist, avoid letting it dry out

Why are the tips of the leaves of my pandanus – even the youngest ones – turning brown?

Jennifer teo


The Pandan plant (Pandanus amaryllifolius) grows best in well-drained soil that is kept moist at all times. Potted specimens often dry out if they are not watered regularly, which can cause plants to wilt and parts of the leaves to dry out.

From the photo, your plant appears to have been infested with spider mites, giving the leaves the spotted appearance. You can use a diluted soap solution to spray and wash the pests from your plant regularly to control the infestation. Summer oil, an environmentally friendly garden pesticide, can also be used.

  • Answers from Dr. Wilson Wong, NParks Certified Practicing Horticulturist, Park Manager and ISA Certified Arborist. He is the founder of Green Culture Singapore and Assistant Assistant Professor (Food Science and Technology) at the National University of Singapore.
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