Mistaken Identities

  • Specie: Mango Tree, Tall Bottle Brush Tree, Flame Tree, Rose Apple Tree
  • Location: various – see info inq post for specific sites

One of my favourite joys about Hong Kong’s urbanscape is its trees, especially those that are clearly labelled with their names. In fact, much of my tree knowledge comes from my wanderings around town looking for trees with labels.

By now, I can confidently say I can identify over 70% of the urban trees around the city. But every time I come across a labelled tree, I always check the name, if only to confirm my own ID and to remind me of their Chinese and scientific names (which I still have lots of trouble remembering).

I think Hong Kong has done a great job in this aspect and I thank the people, whoever they are, who go around the city labelling trees.

But there are times they get it wrong. In some rare cases, I am 100% sure they have mislabeled the individuals in question. So far, I have come across four such mislabeled trees in Hong Kong.

The real mango

This Mango tree on Cotton Tree Drive just outside the Central Fire Station is clearly NOT a poisonous Cerbera, as denoted by its label.

And yes, I am absolutely sure because of the flowers that are blooming right now. The Cerbera’s flowers are white with small petals instead of the mustard-coloured star clusters of the Mango.

Not so sad Tall Bottle Brush

Another tree that is obviously mislabeled is this Tall Bottle Brush tree behind a bus stop outside Queensway.

From the bright red flowers and the spiny leaves, it is clearly NOT a Weeping Willow, which are more graceful and fluid with green flowers, as it says on its label.

One possible explanation is that the specie is sometimes called the Weeping Bottle Brush tree, which might have added to the confusion.

Purple Flame and Cinnamon Apple

There are at least two other trees around Hong Kong that are bearing wrong names. (will update with new photos when I pass them again)

There is a Flame Tree on Kotewall Road, just opposite the public toilets that is labelled as a Jacaranda. While the species are similar with their delicate compounded leaves, I am absolutely sure this is a Flame Tree since the flowers were red and not the gorgeous purple of the Jacaranda.

There is also a Rose Apple Tree in Causeway Bay that is passing itself off as a Cinnamon tree. It grows on one of the busiest corners of all Hong Kong, standing right opposite Sogo at the entrance to Jardine Street.

Categories:Cerbera/Sea Mango, Cinnamon Tree, Flame Tree, Jacaranda, Mango (magnifier indica 杧果), Rose Apple tree, Street trees, Tall Bottle Brush Tree, treelover, urbantrees, Urbantrees of Hong Kong


humble student of the glory of trees

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