in hong kong, red beech seems to be an exclusive item of the botanic garden. this australian native has two representatives in hong kong at the botanic garden. one stands handsomely at the bird-cage area wearing a smart ‘old and valuable tree’. the other one is of lower profile growing behind the tuck shop near the fountain. the former ages more than 90. it has eye-catching copper-red bark, tall and sturdy and straight trunk. the leaves are of adoring ovate shape, thick and glossy. go and visit them this season, their bold yellow flowers are showstopper.
厚葉黃花樹 red beech (dillenia alata) – also called beech and golden guinea tree ; 五椏果科 dilleniaceae family | 五椏果屬dillenia species
- distribution: coastal rainforests of the northern territory and queensland. also occurs from new guinea north to malaysia.
- the red beech is a small tree usually about 6 to 10 metres high, although sometimes smaller. it derives its common name from its beautiful flaky papery trunk, initially copper/pink and becoming maroon with age. the large (10-25 cm by 8-12 cm) ovate leaves are an attractive glossy, dark green colour, while new leaves are reddish-brown.
- the flowers are bright yellow and 6-9 cm in diameter. although they last for one day, they are replaced daily for one to two months in late spring and summer.
- the open fruit reveals bright red valves and black seeds. these are also an attractive feature of the plant and they contrast well with the dense green foliage. (source: australian native plants society)
(source: national museum of australia)