- Specie: Coral Tree (erythrina variegata 刺桐)
- Old and Valuable tree: LCSD WCH/36
- Location: Victoria Park, Causeway Bay (near the tennis grounds); Southorn Playground, Wanchai; Lugard Road, the Peak
There are reportedly coral reefs along Hong Kong’s coastline, but did you know the city also has corals growing on dry land? There is one specie of tree in Hong Kong that shares the name of the underwater forests: the Coral Tree.
Arguably the most prominent Coral Tree in Hong Kong grows inside Victoria Park between Causeway Bay and Tin Hau.
The tree is a member of Hong Kong’s Old and Valuable tree registrar (LCSD WCH/36) and is located near the pool and tennis grounds on the Tin Hau side of the park.
The tree is obviously ancient with a thick, textured trunk that probably gives the species its name.
In addition to being rough with ridges, the trunk is banded, its colour alternating in shading between light and dark patches, resembling their undersea cousins, or at least what my idea of corals look like.
In addition to the “Old and Valuable” tree in Victoria Park, there are two other Coral Trees that are similarly impressive.
These two lining the north and south ends of the Southorn Playground in Wanchai are even taller and stockier, with massive torsos and limbs that reach far into the sky.
Interestingly, these three mature Coral Trees don’t seem to have the capacity to bloom, or at least I have never been lucky enough to visit while they are flowering.
But flower the Coral Tree certainly do. And what magnificent blooms!
It seems Coral Trees grow quite well in Hong Kong and can be found along slopes on the Peak and alongside the Pok Fulam trail. While the older members don’t seem to flower, the younger ones are more enthusiastic, as you can see.
They are just starting to bloom on the Peak (end of February) and will light up the hills with their bright spiky scarlet flowers for the coming weeks. These particular trees line Lugard Road. You can’t really miss them if you just keep your eyes open.