Goodbye Punggol #instagramtree: Other iconic trees in Singapore

A family playing in front of the iconic Tembusu tree in the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
A family playing in front of the iconic Tembusu tree in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The "Punggol Lone Tree", also known as #instagramtree, has finally been taken down.

The decision was made by the Housing Board on Dec 11, as the tree, was certified dead after a check by arborists.

Park visitors were also advised to stay away from the tree as parts of it had been falling off without warning.

The tree had stood on top of a small hill along a waterway and belonged to the fast-growing Albizia species originating from eastern Indonesia.

It lost half its branches when it was struck by lightning in July 2015.

Here are some other iconic trees in Singapore:

1. Tembusu tree at the Singapore Botanic Gardens


A group of friends posing for a photo after climbing onto the iconic tree's low-lying branch at Botanic Gardens, on April 3, 2009. PHOTO: ST FILE

Its low-hanging branch is popular with park visitors, and the tree is also featured on Singapore's $5 note. It is more than 200 years old and is one of the Gardens' more than 40 heritage trees.

In December 2013, the tree was fenced up to prevent visitors from treading around it and affecting the growth of its roots.

In May 2014, two engineers from ST Kinetics and six staff from the National Parks Board (NParks) successfully developed a dynamic support system that allowed the low-hanging branch to gradually adjust to the wind conditions, regain strength to support itself and help it to grow at the same time.

Previously the branch had been supported by wooden props which, while effective for the short term, restricted the movement of the branch.

2. Five Angsana trees in Esplanade Park


The new trees standing in the same spot as their predecessors at Esplanade Park on Nov 24, 2015. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Between the 1960s and the 1980s, lovebirds would recognise the five Angsana trees located at the Esplanade Park, then better known as Queen Elizabeth Walk.

The massive trees lent the popular spot the name "gor zhang chiu kar", Hokkien for "under the five trees".

However, the trees were chopped down by NParks in the 1990s after they were affected by a fungal disease outbreak.

Fortunately, more than two decades later, the trees are back at Esplanade Park, after a team of NParks scientists managed to breed disease-resistant Angsana trees.

It was the first time such mature trees were transplanted there. They were uprooted from Bidadari, where they were cultivated.

The trees stand in the very same popular spot, and NParks has been watering and feeding them nutrients and root hormones to keep them healthy.

3. 'God tree' in Toa Payoh Central


The revamped Ci Ern Ge shrine at the foot of the "God tree" in Toa Payoh Central. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

A Fiscus tree which is said to be guarded by a spirit is a landmark at Toa Payoh Central for more than 41 years.

Legend has it that the tree did not give way during the development of the area for the construction of Toa Payoh New Town in the mid-1960s. A bulldozer was said to have overturned when its driver tried to ram the tree down.

People believed that the tree was protected by the spirit Na Tuk Kong , and devotees built a shrine known as Ci Ern Ge at the bottom of the tree.

However, after a violent storm in September 2013, the "God tree" lost its leafy crown and is now only about three storeys high, half the height of what it used to be.

The Singapore Toa Payoh Central Merchants' Association took over management of the shrine and spent over $100,000 to spruce it up.

The shrine now boasts new flooring, lights, fans, fences and handrails after it re-opened in June 2014.

More than 100 devotees reportedly visit the shrine daily since its re-opening.

4. Angsana tree in Braddell Road


The angsana tree along Braddell Road caused authorities to divert the road around it during construction of the flyover on the left, reportedly causing a number of near-accidents when drivers almost drove into the barrier. PHOTO: ST FILE

In 2005, the authorities spent $200,000 to save a mature angsana tree in Braddell Road from being chopped down due to road works, in a bid to preserve Singapore's natural heritage.

The 20m-tall angsana tree facing Braddell Road outside Raffles Junior College had a 7.1m girth and was estimated to be between 70 and 80 years old at that time.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) tweaked the original road alignment plan by splitting a straight three-lane road towards Toa Payoh into three lanes to accommodate the tree, and a tree well was built around it.

However, in 2007, LTA and NParks decided to cut the tree down after receiving feedback from motorists involved in "near-accident situations" along the stretch of road.

LTA found that motorists had not been observing the speed limit along the stretch.

The tree was not transplanted because of its size, said an NParks spokesman.