榕子 chinese banyan fruits

據說全世界有千多種榕樹。香港城中滿見她們的蹤影。小時候,走路上學,初夏開始,綠蔭下行人道,好幾段榕樹灑下的子,被行人踐踏成茸,粉棕色的綿泥,路上添了軟墊的感覺,還散發點澀香。後來大了,開始不忍踏扁豆子,但要繞路又何期困難,因為榕子一下就不可收拾。現在人更大了,體驗不再,因为落葉落花落子,都成為保持市容整潔的掃除對象。紅豆歲月鲜能重现。

it is said that there are more than 1000 different type of banyan trees. hong kong is a city of banyan. my school kid memory also includes them. every summer, the road leading to my school would be covered by a layer of banyan fruit – i called them banyan beans then, so many of them fell down from the trees, most of them being mashed by passerby. i can vividly remember the soft sponginess stepping on the bean-pasted road, and the hints of grassy mushy fragrance.

today we are still surrounded by chinese banyan, but seldom can i relive this experience, because we are such an efficient and tidy city, all fallen leaves and others usually be swept up.

文末,參一筆中華典故。福州原來有榕城的美稱。事緣北宋治平二年(1065年),張伯玉任福州知州,夏天酷熱難耐,遂令編戶浚溝七尺,植榕綠化,數年後「綠蔭滿城,暑不張蓋」。據《福州市檔案局》,伯玉多學而博識,嗜酒善詩,有「張百杯」、 「張百篇」之號。著有《蓬萊詩》2卷,已佚。

side-tracked a bit, fuzhou is named as the city of banyan, thanks to an official 1000 years ago who decided to plant the city with banyan. here is a photo of a 500-year old chinese banyan there. (source: gsmm.eco.gov.cn)

在福州五百多歲的細葉榕 · 圖片來源 《中華古樹名木

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