even people who do not care much about trees in hong kong would know about agar wood because of recent news coverage. there have been report of incense tree being brutally chopped and smuggled due to its value. the tree produces agarwood, a valuable fragrant wood used for incense and medicine. and of course, this tree and this city has a long history because “hong kong” got its name because it was “a port of incense”.
i saw incense trees before, in countryside and in villages’ fengshui woodland. but i don’t know them a lot because all these times i can only see their tree trunks because they are mature and tall; or sadly, seeing their remains or seriously deformed parts left behind after tree-stealers hurt them badly.
my luck came two days ago when i saw a line of agilawood happily flourishing. i don’t want to disclose their exact location, fearing they will be hurt. roughly they are on the east side of hong kong island in the urban area.
the flowers are mellow in colour, yellowish-green and each have this typical kids-drawn-flower crown shape. they are in a terminal or axillary umbel and have fragrance.
i would like to have some follow-up with this plant, could be fascinating to see the fruit, from what i gather from wiki, “the fruit is a woody obovoid capsule with an outer covering of short grey hairs, 2.5 to 3 cm long, opening in two flat valves when ripen. when the fruit is open, a silky thread from the base of the fruit holds the single seed (or two) in the air.”
土沉香 agar wood / incense tree (aquilaria sinensis ) – kingdom: plantae | (unranked): angiosperms | (unranked): eudicots | (unranked): rosids | order: malvales 錦葵目| family: thymelaeaceae 瑞香科| genus: aquilaria 沉香屬| species: a. sinensis 牙香樹 wiki
- 易危物種 vulnerable species (vu)
- 蒴果木質，倒卵形，成熟時裂成兩片扁平的果殼。果實破開時，底部會長出一條絲線，把種子(一粒或兩粒)吊在半空，近似毛蟲吐絲挂树相似。此特徵是否具有生物學上的意義，仍有待研究。中國珍稀瀕危植物土沉香在香港的現況 (2005年4月15日)《香港植物標本室》