Verdant Hong Kong by Ruth Ridley

Plant spotting in Hong Kong

It was my first visit to Hong Kong this Spring and for some reason I was expecting nothing but tower blocks – I was pleasantly surprised how green it was!

Sightseeing many green spaces and parks

herb spotting in hong kong
Hong Kong city from the Peak
big buddha foliage
The Big Buddha is on a verdant mountain with a fabulous view from the top
temple gardens
The gardens at Wong Tai Sin Temple in Kowloon

The Banyan Tree

banyan tree for herb society
Banyan tree in a Hong Kong park one minute from a busy shopping street

The Banyan tree Ficus Urostigma, is a culturally important tree in many countries. It is a fig tree having aerial prop roots that grow into thick woody trunks which can become indistinguishable from the main trunk. Many Hong Kong villages traditionally had a Banyan as a meeting place, the large tree being afforded respect as if it was a kindly elder.
I found this Hong Kong Banyan tree website very interesting if you’d like to find out more.

Fruit, herbs and flowers in the New Territories

northern territories herbs
I’m not quite sure what this marvelous tree is (left), but the flowers were waxy like magnolia (spotted in the New Territories near Fanling) – Carp pond near Fanling – Wild cosmos and bindweed nearby – Fallen starfruit by a public road, ripe for scrumping!

A short train ride out of the city centre are the suburbs, with many families able to grow their own flowers and herbs on a garden or patio. I spotted avocado, passionfruit, and citrus fruit, and herbs like dill, rue and lemongrass.

Bauhinia the national flower

My favourite flower? The national flower of Hong Kong of course! The flag and coins of Hong Kong both feature the stylised, five-petal flower of the Hong Kong orchid tree Bauhinia blakeana. I had never seen one before, and to me it resembled an extremely blousy azalea!

flower coin
ruth and mei
Me with my friend and travelling companion Mei who lived in Hong Kong as a child

Read about our visit to Hobbiton and a lavender farm in New Zealand on the same trip.


Written by Ruth Ridley


  1. Reply June 8, 2015

    That’s so interesting Ruth! Thanks for all your super posts.

    • Thanks Gwenneth! Just writing a post about Toby Buckland’s event at Bowood, which should be up in a few days.

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