- Specie: Indian Rubber Tree (ficus elastica 印度榕)
- Old and Valuable tree: ARCHSD: WCH/2
- Location: entrance of Ho Tung Secondary School, Eastern Hospital Road
This magnificent Indian Rubber Tree that grows on the side of the Hotung Secondary School on Eastern Hospital Road. Like most members of its specie, it is massive, with flying roots slithering down to the ground like wax melting off a burning candle.
Photos can’t really do this tree justice as its roots actually form an intricate network of arches and flyovers that reach all the back to the school building it seemingly guards.
So it is no wonder it has achieved the status as an Old and Valuable tree on Hong Kong’s tree registrar as ARCHSD WCH/2.
The sad news is it is sick, diagnosed as suffering from the very serious ailment – brown root rot disease.
There isn’t much that can be done. According to the Hong Kong government, the disease is cause by an aggressive fungal pathogen called phellinus noxius. There is no known cure or treatment as far as available information is concerned.
The only hope is the tree can fend off the disease on its own as healthy trees can do. As such, this tree is being closely monitored for its health.
Many trees, including some on the protected registrar, have succumbed to the disease. I hope this one has the mettle and stamina to beat the odds.
As you can see, it really is a majestic tree. In case you are in the neighbourhood, there are several Indian Rubber Trees in the area well worth the time to visit.
Further down the road from this wounded guardian are two similarly massive peers just outside the Eastern Hospital.
Closer to Causeway Bay, there is another Old and Valuable tree of Hong Kong behind a bus stop on Leighton Road.
When it is all said and done, Indian Rubber Trees are spectacular specimens that seem to emerge out of the ground like nature’s own shrines. I only hope this guardian outside Hotung Secondary School can persevere the assaults of time.