15 more trees here given heritage status

Cannonball tree -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Cannonball tree -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONGST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG
Cannonball tree -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Cannonball tree -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONGST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG
Teak tree -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Teak tree -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONGST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG
Giant cola tree -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Giant cola tree -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONGST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG
Buah keluak tree -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Buah keluak tree -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONGST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG
Tamalan tree -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Tamalan tree -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONGST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG

15 trees with historical or ecological significance join the Heritage list

Tall and majestic, more than 200 trees have made the Heritage Tree list in the past 13 years.

The special title is conferred by a panel consisting of National Parks Board (NParks) staff as well as landscape and plant experts in recognition of a tree's historical or ecological significance to Singapore.

NParks takes special care of these Heritage Trees, equipping them, for example, with lightning conductors to prevent them from being struck.

Perhaps most well-loved among the Heritage Trees is a Tembusu tree at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The 150-year-old giant is featured on Singapore's $5 bills. Many would also remember sitting on one of the tree's branches that stretch out like an arm.

Recently, 15 new trees joined the league. Here is a look at five of them, four of which can be found at the Botanic Gardens.

kashc@sph.com.sg


TAMALAN TREE (Fort Canning)

NATIVE to Myanmar and Thailand, the Tamalan tree was exclusively planted at Fort Canning in the early part of the 20th century. Planted along streets in the past, this tree is also a favourite among wedding photographers for its lush foliage.

BUAH KELUAK TREE

THE fruit of this tree is used in Asian cuisines, most notably the Peranakan dish ayam buah keluak. But the fruit actually contains hydrogen cyanide and is highly toxic in its original form. The poison can be removed by boiling and fermenting the fruit. The tree's leaves and the oil from its seeds were used as a disinfectant in earlier times.

GIANT COLA TREE

WITH its spectacular large leaves and a dense spreading crown, this tree is the only one of its type recorded in Singapore. Its bitter nut, which is high in caffeine content, is often used in Africa to treat whooping cough, asthma, malaria and fever. The tree bark is used as a painkiller.

TEAK TREE

THIS tree dates back to 1884 and was first recorded by the Gardens' director Isaac Burkill in his 1927 guide book. He did not think it would grow into a large tree as it was not suited to local conditions, but it has beaten the odds. Its high-quality timber is pest- and water-resistant.

CANNONBALL TREE

THE seed of this tree - from then Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) - was planted around the 1930s by botanist E. J. H. Corner, the Gardens' assistant director. The tree has small branches on its bark that support cannonball-like fruit. Hindus use the tree's fragrant flowers for worship.