The son, the mother and the remarkable Chinese Banyan

  • Specie: Chinese Banyan (ficus microcarpa)
  • Location: Kennedy Road, between the intersection of Borrett Road and Monmouth Terrace

Continuing on my journey on Kennedy Road, just around the corner from that fabulous Lemon-scented Gum giant is a no less remarkable Chinese Banyan. But instead of shooting up skyward, this esoteric, playful and stand out example of one of the most common tree species in Hong Kong makes its mark horizontally, in the spread of its root system.

Kennedy Road
Parent and child

What is pretty amazing about this tree is that its offshoot (to the left in the photo on top) is as robust as the core cluster of limbs. From the front, it looks as a child, trying to escape from the clutches of its mother, but not so successfully.

Kennedy Road
I want to be free

That said, from the looks of the roots of the offshoot, the child is clearly thriving and is becoming a mighty personality on its own.

But that is not the whole story. Take another step back – from across the street – and another dimension to the tree emerges. To the left (eastward) another branch appears that appears to be an limb from the same tree. It stretches in an arch upwards from the ground next to the main tree, forming the third member of this family (father? sibling? grandchild?). There is no concrete evidence that it is the same individual tree, but from the angle of the trunk, it is highly likely that all three are part of the same individual.

Kennedy Road
Nuclear family

This was the first Chinese Banyan that I’ve come across that has multiple root systems growing out of the ground across separate sites. I used to think this was the expression of “lovers”, until I came across the “Grand Lovers” in Happy Valley. Now I believe the family  metaphor is much more appropriate. Besides, such a unique individual deserves its own story.

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Categories:Chinese Banyan, urbantrees, Urbantrees of Hong KongTags: , , , , , ,

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