New avenue of 22 heritage rain trees unveiled as part of upcoming civic district tree trail

Samanea saman (Rain Tree) at Esplanade Park.
Samanea saman (Rain Tree) at Esplanade Park.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Samanea saman (Rain Tree) at Esplanade Park.
Samanea saman (Rain Tree) at Esplanade Park. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Gnetum gnemon (Meninjau; Belinjau) at War Memorial Park.
Gnetum gnemon (Meninjau; Belinjau) at War Memorial Park. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Dalbergia oliveri (Tamalan Tree; Black Rosewood) at CHIJMES.
Dalbergia oliveri (Tamalan Tree; Black Rosewood) at CHIJMES. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Ficus elastica (Indian Rubber Tree) at National Museum.
Ficus elastica (Indian Rubber Tree) at National Museum. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Pterocarpus indicus (Angsana) at School of the Arts.
Pterocarpus indicus (Angsana) at School of the Arts. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Samanea saman (Rain Tree) at Istana Entrance.
Samanea saman (Rain Tree) at Istana Entrance. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The civic district is dotted with well-known monuments and amid them, watching silently over the past century, are stretches of trees that include towering angsana trees and majestic rain trees.

About 35 of these trees will be part of an upcoming civic district tree trail to be opened to the public from May 1, as part of NParks' effort to get people to look up into their leafy crowns.

Among the highlights of the trail is an avenue of 22 heritage rain trees along Connaught Drive. These were unveiled in a ceremony officiated by Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee, in conjunction with Car-Free Sunday (March 27).

It the largest number of trees in a single avenue to be endorsed under NParks' heritage tree scheme.

Some of the heritage rain trees along the Connaught Drive stretch date back to the mid-1880s and have witnessed key events in the district including the declaration of independence from the British for Singapore by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1963, and Singapore's first National Day celebrations in 1966.

Epiphytes such as ferns and orchids tend to grow on old rain trees.

NParks said the tree trail will allow members of the public to learn about the natural heritage parked in the heart of Singapore.

Mr Lee added: "Even as we continue to plant new trees, we must also cherish and protect the trees that have been maturing gracefully since Singapore's early days. These trees are a familiar sight for us and have been providing shade, shelter, and a green respite for many generations of Singaporeans."

The trail comprises 20 stops in total including one at the National Museum where an old and large Indian rubber tree from 1955 still stands today.

Other highlights include five angsana trees at Esplanade Park that were replanted from Upper Serangoon Road to recreate an iconic area familiar to dating couples between the 1960s and 1980s. The original trees, known as "Gor Zhang Chiu Kar" in Hokkien, which means "under the shade of five trees", were removed after they were affected by fungus.

NParks has developed other tree trails for various parks and green sites here. These include three heritage tree trails at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Fort Canning Park and Pulau Ubin.