the last two to three years, locals love rushing to tai tong, yuen long every winter to chase after the winter reds. this is a good sign, in one sense. hongkongers are increasingly aware of the local nature treasures.
yet winter colours are around us. why the crowd and rush.
winter is never gloomy in hong kong. there are flowers and fruits season in winter, bringing us many colours and shapes, texture and fragrance. but this post is focusing on the leaves and their colours.
楓香 sweet gum (liquidambar formosana) － 本地品種 native to hong kong
one main reason local swamp tai tong is the sweet gum. this tree actually is commonly seen around the city. two of my favorite spots are tai tam country park and the botanic gardens.
烏桕 chinese tallow (sapium sebiferum) － 原產中國 native to china
sweet gum leaves are in the shape of simple star with three points. chinese tallow is also having lovely leaves. the leaves are tender-looking, in the shape of rhombus. when looking the leaves in yellow and orange in a distance, i always feel that there are many little hearts dangling and swinging in the wind.
銀杏 ginkgo (ginkgo biloba) － 原產中國 native to china
in my opinion, ginkgo leaves are the most beautiful leaves in the world. in fact the leaves are as unique as the species itself. ginkgo is called a living fossil as its history traced way back. the leaves are in amazing fan shapes and veins run parallel with the leaf blades. leaves turn golden in winter before shedding.
梧桐 chinese parasol tree (firmiana simplex) － 中國、日本原生 native to china and japan
one topic often appears in chinese literature is the connection between autumn and the fallen leaves of chinese parasol tree. the leaves are big and handsome looking. they turn yellowish brown when cold season approaches.
野漆樹 wax tree (rhus succedanea) － 亞洲原生 native to asia
wax tree leaves are so sharp-looking in the wild during winter. they turn fire-red before shedding.
落羽杉 bald cypress (taxodium distichum) – 原生北美 native to north america
a line of bald cypress in winter is a spectacle, a display of earth-colour, brown, burgundy, orange – a spectrum of red. above all these colour wonders, if you can get near to the trees, a sweet incense is in the air.
異葉爬牆虎 parthenocissus tricuspidata (japanese creeper) – 日本、朝鮮、華北原生 native to japan, korea and north china
this common and commercial plants are under-appreciated by city dwellers. the green and soothing effects in summer and the pretty colour variation in winter they provided are wonderful.
朴樹 chinese hackberry (celtis sinensis) – 華東、香港原生 eastern china and hong kong native
chinese hackberry is such a down-to-earth tree buddy to this city. i particularly love this tree in winter. they take time to change colours, dark green slowly faded and eventually to earthy yellow. yet this colour before shedding is such a warm and adorable colour under the winter sun. they then fall and form pretty foliage carpet around.
前年今季 a winter post back in 2013: 《冬色 winter colours in jan 2013》