- Species: Silk Oak (grevillea robusta)
- Location: Southside of Gloucester Road next to the pedestrian overpass between Immigration Tower and Wanchai MTR station
I spotted this pretty little tree on the sidewalk after getting a coffee at Pacific Coffee. I was pleasantly surprised that someone had actually labelled this tree, complete with an ID since I didn’t really know of Silk Oak trees before.
In its current young age, the tree is quite beautiful. Despite its thin and non-descript main limb, it has glamourously delicate foliage featuring long, flowing pinnate leaves, well, like silk blowing in the wind.
Its delicate beauty is probably the reason the Silk Oak is sometimes grown indoors like a fern, according to some botany sites. However, the other thing about the Silk Oak is that it is one of the fastest growing tress around, so that beauty comes with a price. That shouldn’t be a problem with this sapling, since there’s nothing above it but sky, albeit in very close proximity to the towering skyscrapers lining Gloucester Road.
According to the Kew Garden plant database, the Silk Oak can be found natively in New South Wales and Queensland in Australia, and also Cameroon in Africa, which seems like a long stretch. Other online sources say the wood of the tree is used for timber in Australia, while the leaves are apparently used to dress wounds in China.
There is one other characteristic of Silk Oaks, its bright yellow and orange blooms, absent from this individual, but apparently very striking, according to this LA Times article. I’ll be sure to keep my eye.