- Species: Chinese Banyan (ficus microcarpa)
- Location: Battery Path, Central
Among the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong’s financial district, six beautifully preserved old and thriving Chinese Banyans (ficus microcarpa) line a quiet pedestrian walkway like ancient sentries guarding lost treasures.
The Central district in Hong Kong is arguably the heart of the city. Here are the headquarters of the financial and business machines that power the city’s vitality – some would even venture to say, soul, of the city. Here is where global giants like the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Corporation, Bank of China, Cheung Kong, CitiBank, Standard Chartered Bank, Jardine, Hong Kong Land, and many, many other firms have built their legacies.
But before the brands became household names and constructed their iconic skyscrapers, Central was home to a far more humble institution with a much less illustrious past. Before Hong Kong became the financial powerhouse it is today, before it became ‘Asia’s World City’ and before reclamation expanded its coast, there was Battery Path, which led to the first British stronghold – Murray Battery – and government headquarters offices at 1842.
Now the trees form part of the path leading up to the city’s Department of Justice. Each are pretty spectacular on their own, but as a journey, the trek up the path from the corner of Ice House Street and Queen’s Road Central, is quite enchanting.
They all seems to be around the same age, but the years have left distinct marks on each. Take a closer look.
When you get to the top of the incline on the path, two immense members greet you on the right side. Instead of arching over the street below, these stand erect at attention and welcoming, but also offer a sense of foreboding of what you will find as your turn the corner.
Yet, as mere sentries, the six Chinese Banyans are not protected under Hong Kong’s “Old and valuable tree” registry. I can’t really think of any reason why not. Come and have a look yourself.