Have you ever seen a huge magnificent tree and admired it in awe? It could be one of the 258 registered heritage trees in Singapore. The Heritage Tree Scheme was started in 2001 for the conservation of mature trees with great heritage value to the country. As urbanisation swept the country, these landmark trees were and are being conserved as part of our national natural heritage.
Here are some famous heritage trees you might have seen!
- Tembusu Tree
Tembusu trees are not uncommon in Singapore and are easy to spot with its fissured barks. But the most famous one of this native species is the iconic tree on our $5 notes. This tree is over 200 years old and was often seen accompanied with visitors posing on its low lying branch. Now that it has been fenced up and given extra support, I hope it will live a longer life and stand tall for many generations to come.
Beyond its aesthetic value, its extremely hardy and termite-resistant wood has been used for heavy construction purposes and even as chopping boards. The enchanting scent of its creamy white flowers attract birds and humans in the late evenings.
2. Angsana Tree
Seeds of an Angsana tree (Source)
Yellow flowers of the Angsana tree (source)
The Angsana tree is best known for its flat disc-like seeds that are dispersed by the wind (does it ring a bell?). But before these papery seeds are sent flying across the skies, faintly fragrant yellow flowers bloom for only a day. Next time you see a pavement of yellow flowers, look up and admire this fleeting moment of beauty. 11 of these iconic trees are registered as heritage trees across the island.
3. Banyan Tree
One of the two Burmese Banyan Trees listed as a heritage tree in Singapore (Source)
This category of massive trees is commonly found and can be easily identified by its unique trunk system with many dangling aerial roots. It is a keystone ficus species as it provides fruits year round, sustaining Singapore’s biodiversity. There are a number of species of banyan trees in Singapore like the Indian Banyan, Malayan Banyan and Bodhi tree to name a few.
It may seem like an innocently magnificent tree, but it holds a sinister origin. Banyan trees are hemiepiphytes (stranglers), they start off planted in the crevices of a host tree by an animal that consumes the fruits, then grows its aerial roots till it reaches the ground. It eventually takes over the host tree by growing around it and competing for nutrients. This killer tree doesn’t seem that innocent anymore does it?
Now that you know a little more about what a heritage tree is in Singapore, do you have a tree in mind? If you do, do not hesitate and go show that tree some love here. If not, check out what heritage trees are near you and go discover what value they hold to others. Don’t let these trees’ value fade away, let’s amplify their beauty and honour the countless memories they have been part of.
Written by: Audrey