- Species: Big-leaved Fig
- Old and valuable tree of Hong Kong listing: CSO CW/5
- Location: Battery Path, Central
Continuing the journey along Battery Path, there is one singular presence that is hard to miss. Around the corner from the six sentries on the ramp from Ice House Street, in the small roundabout with stairs leading to the Department of Justice and an adjacent path to St John’s Cathedral, stands a gigantic Big-leaved Fig tree (ficus virens 黃葛樹/大葉榕), like a monument commemorating the evolutionary journey of Hong Kong.
The tree is enormous with several immense trunks twisting into the air. It is so old in fact that it needs a little help. While its core trunk looks sturdy, its crown seemed to have outgrown the higher limbs, which needed to be held up by a man-made column.
Recognised as an ‘Old and valuable’ tree of Hong Kong under the listing CSO CW/5, the tree is definitely an elder member of city’s tree population, and likely vulnerable to damage, particular in such a high traffic area. That probably explains the protective fence around its roots, which hides the tree somewhat if you are not paying attention. But I guess our elders need some respective, and peace and quiet.
Like many old trees in Hong Kong, this particular individual obviously need our help, attention, and perhaps some love too. It is definitely a symbol of the city’s success, a reminder of its journey from a fishing outpost to the financial powerhouse it is today. I’m really glad that it is getting the attention, and protection, it needs to continue to grace us with its presence. It really is a beautiful tree.
As a Big-leaved Fig, this specimen is deciduous, so its leaves fall off during the winter months, which only adds to its sense of antiquity.