- Specie: Sweet Gum
- Location: Yangmingshan Park, Taipei
Yangmingshan is a mountain just north of Taipei in Taiwan. While there are proper hiking trails up in the mountain, there is also a well maintained park/garden on its foothills that is much less challenging, particular if you just want to enjoy a stroll among the trees.
And trees there are plentiful. One specie that is abundant, I dared say even cultivated here, is the sweet gum (liquidamber styraciflua). There is even a special section marked out for sweet gums although they seem to grow everywhere.
The park itself is full of small, winding paths that weave in and out of the trees, while here and there, benches and pavillions offer rest and shade for visitors.
The sweet gums here are spectacular. Much taller than any in Hong Kong, with dense, lush foliage even in November, when they should be shedding their leaves to meet the approaching winter. It was 28 degrees Celsius however on the day I visited.
Another quality of the sweet gums here is their size and diversity of shapes. Sweet Gums that grow together, such as those along the sweet gum lane in the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, are often similar in form, leaning this way or that.
The ones in the Yangmingshan Park are all pretty individual. Some are thick and straight, reaching upwards. Others have multiple limbs that spread out like a bowl. Yet others are somewhere in between. Suffice to say each are unique in their own way. Interspersed among the walking paths, each presents itself as a new experience.
Of course, we were a few weeks early to see the full glory of these magnificent trees. Later on, when the temperature drops further, these sweet gums should light up the hill with their bright yellow and red leaves. Now that would be really sweet indeed.
Lastly, when you are visiting Yangmingshan, don’t forget (although they are very hard to miss) some of the other species scattered in the park, including the sour cherries, banyans, pines and many others.