Hong Kong's Top 10... Coolest trees


1 Kam Tin Tree House, Yuen Long 

Silhouetted in this badass mother of trees in Kam Tin Shui Mei Village is the outline of what once was a Q’ing dynasty village study hall. After an inland migration order forced villagers to abandon their homes, the young banyan’s branches grew unkempt and eventually surrounded the study hall. While the house itself has disappeared over time, its existence remains casted in this breathtaking tree house banyan. 

2 Forbes Street stone wall trees, Kennedy Town

Like wild streetlights growing out of urban facades in much of the Central and Western District are Hong Kong’s iconic stone wall trees, the largest of which are in Kennedy Town. These trees are visually symbolic of Hong Kong’s urban jungle, helping to filter our city’s air pollution, highly regarded by locals and nearby residents who believe the trees improve the area’s feng shui, and spiking up property values in areas. 

3 ‘King Banyan’, Tsim Sha Tsui 

This 400-year-old tree in Kowloon Park dates back to the Q’ing dynasty and is possibly Hong Kong’s oldest Banyan. When a typhoon in 2007 took out a third of the tree’s trunk, it cost around $950,000 to keep it alive. But the tree’s ultimate demise came in the 80s when the surrounding soil was compacted with concrete, causing the roots to suffocate. Recently, the damage has threatened nearby plants and, sadly, there are plans to axe this tired tree this month. Check it out before it’s gone.

4 Tai Shui Hang Tsuen Camphor Tree, Sha Tin

Also called the ‘Hundred Son Thousand Grandson Tree’, meaning abundant prosperity, the tree’s base divvies out into 13 boughs like Siamese trees joined at the hip, probably caused by a damaging blow during its early years. Most trees wouldn’t have survived the strain, but this one’s many boughs are still standing strong, giving it a 24m-thick trunk diameter and prime listing in the Old and Valuable Tree register (ovt.lcsd.gov.hk/ovt) for outstanding size. 

5 Hong Kong Cemetery Bay Leaved Fig, Happy Valley

These wall trees add a touch of surrealism to the peaceful Hong Kong Cemetery, with a web of roots cascading out of the cemetery stone walls. But, at 21m tall and 28m crown width, the tree provides blissful shade over the sanctuary. 

6 Five Fingers Camphor, Lai Chi Wo
This 300-year-old 25m tall, 3m-thick camphor gets its name from when it once branched out into five large ‘fingers’, one of which was rumoured to have been cut down and used by the Japanese Army as a hiding place during their occupation of Lai Chi Wo. 

7 Leaning Banyan, Yau Ma Tei

Situated in the Yau Ma Tei Community Centre Rest Garden, this banyan staggers at an angle in a manner that almost imitates Chinese men peering at a heated chess match nearby. 

8 Chinese Banyan, Central

Next time you’re near Hong Kong Park, check for this 15m thick colossus. Over a century in years and located on Supreme Court Road near the park’s entrance, this banyan has witnessed Hong Kong’s political evolution from former Victoria Barracks to the construction of the first main buildings after the British Colonial establishment. 

9 Camphor in She Shan Tsuen, Tai Po

Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
This camphor can be found among the feng shui trees near She Shan Children’s Playground. Its significant size (at 25m tall and 3m diameter) allegedly protected the She Shan village people hundreds of years ago. Efforts have been made to preserve the tree by propping it up due to its weak hollow trunk, which was burned out during a fire. 

10 Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees

Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
With Mid-Autumn festival nearly upon us, we have to mention these two famous oracle banyans. People used to burn joss sticks, write their wishes on a piece of joss paper tied to an orange and hurl it high into the tree – the higher the branch your wish landed, the more likely it was to come true. Unfortunately, in 2005, when one of the branches grew too heavy with wishes, gave way and injured two people, the ritual was stopped. For now, frequenters can tie their wishes to wooden racks set up nearby. Ying Lo

Images courtesy of LCSD

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