土沉香 agar wood (aquilaria sinensis )

在郊野、鄉村碰過土沉香,每棵都高大年長,看到觸到只是其樹幹。加上近年聽聞慘痛的報導,土沉香給掏伐亂砍,也曾親睹傷痕累累的真身,所以土沉香緊連的感受是敬畏神傷。

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”.

前兩天竟然讓我碰到了土沉香花季,感覺一新。但為了保護她們的「樹身安全」,不透露詳細位置,只告訴大家好幾棵美麗的土沉香位於香港東區市區內。

惨遭砍伐的土沉香 seriously wounded agilawood
惨遭砍伐的土沉香 seriously wounded agilawood

近距離欣賞到土沉香花盛開的模樣,花黃綠色,不很鮮豔。但簇簇芳香的小花杯,頂生(或腋生)成傘形花序,喜悅漂亮,可親俏麗。

回來再搜集資料,發覺她的葉也有趣。《香港植物標本室》:「葉互生,革質,倒卵形至橢圓形,有15至20對葉脈,葉脈並不明顯,幾乎完全對稱橫向生長。」會找機會細看那樣特別的葉脈紋理。

agilawood flowers

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

agilawood

参考 reference:

  • 易危物種 vulnerable species (vu)
  • 常綠喬木,樹皮平滑,淺灰色或深灰色,木身白色或淺黃色,故又稱“白木香”。
  • 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》
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