- Specie: Yellow Poinciana (peltophorum pterocarpum)
- Location: Robinson Road on the roundabout with Castle Road
There is a small tree, albeit growing quickly, on the sidewalk on Robinson Road along the roundabout down from Castle Road, that has the potential to become incredibly specular when it blooms. The tree is a Yellow Poinciana (peltophorum pterocarpum), which is also known as a Yellow Flame Tree, with flowers that presumably resemble the Flame Tree, but yellow.
The tree itself was quite small when I first encountered it a year or so back. It is obviously pretty young, so that explains the lack of blooms.
But as it ages, it is starting to show its beautiful characteristics, including its bipinnated leaves structure with foliage that features a formation with a central spine that pinnates (like a fish bone) into sub-spines with oval leaflets, also pinnated. Another characteristic is that it is an evergreen tree, so unlike the Flame Tree, this species won’t lose its leaves in the winter. The entire make up, at least at the young age of this particular individual, is a bit like many a fern, but several metres tall.
I haven’t came across many of this species in Hong Kong, but will certainly keep my eyes open from now on. In any event, it should be easy to spot once it blooms.
One of the most famous Yellow Poinciana trees grows beside the Malolos Cathedral in the Philippines. That particular individual is known as the Kalayaan Tree, or Tree of Freesom, and is symbolic of the first Philippines Republic under Emilio Aguinaldo between September 15, 1898 to March 31, 1899.
According to Wikipedia:
The Kalayaan Tree (locally called Siar, a Yellow flame tree) is located at the patio of the Cathedral. It is not certain that Aguinaldo planted this tree because it is already mature Siar tree when the First Philippine Republic was established. The historical significance of this tree is that it is a living witness to the Malolos Republic. Aguinaldo and his Cabinet have conducted many political discussions there. Under the tree, a monument was placed symbolizing the meeting of Filipino revolutionaries, represented by Gen. Gregorio del Pilar and Gen. Isidoro Torres; Don Pablo Tecson, an erudite legislator; Padre Mariano Sevilla, a nationalist leader of the church and Doña Basilia Tantoco, portraying a woman freedom fighter.