This extremely graceful tree, with its spreading crown of delicate, feathery-looking foliage, can grow to about 20 metres in height. The leaves are made up of many small leaflets arranged alternately along a stalk. Its flowers are small and occur in bunches. These are lilac in colour during the budding stage, before turning pink, and finally white. This tree is native to Myanmar and Thailand. It was introduced into Singapore as an ornamental wayside tree. The wood of this tree has been prized for producing high quality furniture. The row of Tamalan Trees found growing on the left of the road leading up to college reception were planted in 2007, shortly after the building was upgraded.
White Mussaenda Mussaenda philippica 'Aurorae'
Mussaenda Mussaenda erythrophylla 'Dona Luz’
Scattered at various parts of the school, the differing colours of the bracts of different individual plants are a huge bewilderment. Similar to Bougainvilleas, their colourful “flowers” are actually just the leaves, or bracts. The actual flowers are small and can only be found if you pay close attention to the plant. After touching its leaves, you will also immediately realise that they are furry and soft! The yellow ‘Queen Sirikit’ is a hybrid variety that displays distinctive pink bracts; while ‘Donna Aurora’ boasts of dark orange flower nestled in 5 pearly white septals. Unlike most species of Mussaenda that have a single large bract (or enlarged sepal) for each flower, the crowning glories of these special cultivars usually have multiple of them.
Heliconia ‘American Dwarf’
Heliconia is also called ‘lobster-claws’, which vividly describes the unique shape of its vibrant blossom. Each strain has its own distinct colour combination. For the ‘American Dwarf’, the showy inflorescences of light orange are cuddled with a long and narrow turmeric yellow bract that resembles the wing of an origami crane. This unique tubular flower reminds onlookers of a toucan’s beak, and produces a berry-shaped fruit after pollination.
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Water Jasmine 水梅 Wrightia religiosa
The Water Jasmines in our school were once donated by alumnus Mr Tan Leong Teck (陈龙德学长). Many neatly trimmed bushes of Water Jasmines can also be found lining the pavements at different locations around the High School section. Some of them have also been turned into bonsais, which are being maintained by our skilful gardeners over the years. You may be astonished to find out that the bonsai are of the same species as rows of “typical” bushes. If you do not believe it, lean close and smell their sweet and fragrant white flowers!
Eugenia Eugenia oleina
Many of the Eugenias have been propagated, cloned and generously donated by our school alumnus Mr Mak Chin On, who is an expert in horticulture and plant propagation. After several years growing multiple generations of them, Mr Mak was able to successfully cultivate Eugenias with deep liver-red leaves that are seen in abundance in our school today. Numerous shrubs of both orange-red and liver-red Eugenias line the side of Tan Kah Kee Drive, acting as ornamental foliage alongside the lipstick palms and bougainvilleas in the same row. These plants are pruned regularly by our school gardeners into dome-shapes, showcasing a fresh layer of red leaves after every trim. They certainly add on to the rich diversity of the plants and vibrant mixture of colours displayed along the driveway! Its larger companions stand in the SRC, with the shorter pomelo tree in between them. These slow growing trees were, in fact, planted just when the SRC was first built. The trees here may look very different from those along the road, but one can ascertain they are of the same species after observing the red leaves on the surface of its canopy.
Bougainvillea Bougainvillea glabra
As you walk around Hwa Chong amongst these “flowers” especially during a rainy season, you may suspect the if they are real or simply origami crafts because of their papery texture. If you stop to look closely, will you realise that what you have always mistaken as its petals, are really just the bracts meant to attract pollinators. Indeed, small cream-coloured flowers can be found hidden within the bracts. Common colours of these bracts include purple, white, orange and yellow, though ‘rainbow’ coloured Bougainvillea, with flowers of two colours on the same plant, are also often seen. The Bougainvillea is a signature plant in the Singapore landscape. It is extensively planted here because not many flowers can bring this explosion of colours to our hot, tropical environment all year round.
The Ixora blooms with stunning clusters of red, yellow, pink or orange flowers. The Ixora is a common flower in Singapore. Some of us are aware that one could pluck out its corolla tube, and enjoy a sweet shot of nectar from the other end! When in full bloom, the neatly trimmed bushes line Tan Kah Kee Drive with a thick ribbon of crimson blossoms. What a sight to behold! Kudos to our skillful gardeners who help to maintain these beautiful bushes all year long.
Tembusu Fagraea fragrans
These Tembusu trees are one of the only few remaining in our school. This is also the very species of tree that appears on our $5 notes. Due to their height, they are often seen towering over buildings and other trees, and can even be observed all the way from the Holistic Education Centre in JC. The Tembusus were found natively on the Hwa Chong’s land before the school was even built - consequently, they are easily over a hundred years old. Despite their age, these trees were almost chopped down not long ago, until the workers were stopped by Mr Tan Pheng Tiong. As a result, you will realise that they often have one or more stumps. Luckily, these trees have been able to survive the ordeal. Do not be fooled by the pictures, all of these trunks belong to the same tree!
Yellow Bells Tecoma stans
All of the Yellow Bells in the school are donated by alumnus Mr Mak Chin On. Many of these were grown in clusters all over the JC side in 2005, for the purpose of having more flowering trees to beautify our school landscape. Yellow Bells are used for ornamental purposes due to its distinctive bright golden corolla that resembles a miniature trumpet, or a jingle bell on a Christmas tree. It also has pods containing layers of papery, winged seeds, which disperse by wind. Considered to be a ruderal species, it can often grow on rocky land. With countless flowers blooming on each tree at the same time, they certainly brighten the scenery and lightens the mood of students walking past them!
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