- Species: Mock Bodh Tree
- Old and valuable tree of Hong Kong listing: AFCHSD CW/27
- Location: Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens (on a path leading down from the overpass over Garden Road and the greenhouse)
They say the Buddha attained Nirvana underneath a Bodh tree. Specifically, the legend tells of a large sacred tree of the fig varietal located in Bodh Gaya, under which Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment and became the Buddha.
That tree and its entire genus is now called Bodh, a type of fig tree that is also called the Peeple tree (ficus religiosa). Bodh trees are identified by their broad leaves with a long extended tip that give them the appearance of dangling hearts.
There are plenty of Bodh trees in Hong Kong, but if you are looking for that special species to try your luck in attaining divinity, you shouldn’t look to this grand member hidden away down a narrow path from the greenhouse in the Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens.
The fact is, this is not a Bodh tree, but a ‘Mock Bodh’ tree, so not exactly the same thing. Instead of being a “ficus religiosa,” this is a “ficus rumplii,” which has similar leaves, but is a pretender.
That said, this example, if you can find it (near the Cotton Tree Drive border to the botanical gardens), is a sight to behold. It is also worth noting that it is on the list of “Old and valuable” tree of Hong Kong as AFCHSD CW/27.
You might not find your ascension under this Mock Bodh tree, but you can sure enjoy its noble majesty. If you happened to make it there in May, you might even catch its fruits, which sprout from its limbs like small beads.