Scientific Name Sterculia lanceolata




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50 Common Trees in Hong Kong Volume 2



Scientific Name

Sterculia lanceolata

Name in Chinese

假蘋婆

Common Name

Scarlet sterculia, Lanceleaf sterculia

Introduction

Sterculia lanceolata is a kind of small local evergreen wild tree. It is fast growing. It prefers a sheltered sunny position with good soil. It is suitable for planting on riverbanks and hillsides. Wild growing specimens can be found in many country parks in Hong Kong.

Special Features

In summer, it is one of the most conspicuous evergreen wild trees in Hong Kong on account of its large vivid scarlet fruits. The leaves are elliptical with acute apex and blunt base. The leaf stalk is swollen at each end. Some trees change their leaves in June and July at a time when other trees are usually in full foliage. The brown leaves and bare branches stand out conspicuously and make it easy to recognize.

To Learn More

Its fruits appear around the Weaver Maid Festival (the seventh evenings of the seventh months in Lunar calendar). Thus, it is also named as the ‘Fruit of Weaver Maid’ in Chinese.

Its fruits are favourite of many birds in the forests.








Characteristics

Whole Plant

Family

Sterculiaceae

Height

Up to 12 metres

Nature

of Leaf

Evergreen tree

Others

With a dense crown of foliage

Photo

Shatin Park

Branch

  • Branches bending, not straight.

  • Low branching.

Bark

  • Bark not smooth.

Leaf

Flower

  • Flowers unisexual, regular, both sexes grow on the same tree; flowering in spring.

  • Corolla absent, calyx of 5 purplish-red pointed sepals joined at the base to form a star shape.

  • Flowers in short branched panicles from leaf axils.

Fruit

  • Radiating cluster of 5 follicles, about 5 cm in length.

  • At first green, then turns yellow and finally changes to a glowing red.

  • Splits along the lower side to expose rows of black shining seeds when ripen.




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