Golden Yellow Rain Tree Samanea saman (yellow leaf var.)
The world’s first golden yellow rain trees were cultivated by Maryland Nursery, headed by Mr Mak Chin On, in the 1990s to 2000s. Since then, these yellow trees have been increasingly sought after for their bright and striking golden foliage in Singapore. When planted alongside their green counterparts, it certainly adds greater diversity and a contrast of colours to the typical rain trees that we are all so familiar with. These yellow rain trees are grown all over the school campus, many of which were generously donated by our school alumni, Mr Mak. However, out of the estimated 200 that he had donated, only half of them still remain in the school due to difficulties in maintaining this particular variety. Given that these trees were bred only around 2 decades ago, they are evidently much younger and smaller in size. It is for certain that all of them will be present to witness Hwa Chong’s bicentennial celebrations.
Eugenia Eugenia oleina
Many of the Eugenia 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 Eugenia with deep liver-red leaves that are seen in abundance in our school today. Numerous shrubs of both orange-red and liver-red Eugenia 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.
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.
Rain Tree Samanea saman
The Rain Tree, introduced to Singapore in 1976, is currently the most cultivated roadside tree here. During rainy days, the leaves of the tree will droop, giving rise to its common name. Along with its brothers in the Heritage trees registry, the majestic, iconic Rain Trees lining our school’s terraces have also seen its fair share of Hwa Chong’s history, from the annual Founder’s Day events - including this year’s centennial celebrations - to welcoming yearly batches of new students at Orientation, cementing itself as a part of Hwa Chong’s identity. Despite their sheer size, these rain trees were not here when our school was first established. In fact, they were only planted 3 to 4 decades ago, replacing Casuarina trees. The Casuarinas used leave a mess after shedding their leaves all over the ground, and also provided little shade for the students. Consequently, they were removed and replaced with the raintrees that we see today. With its widespread, umbrella-shaped canopy, these trees are perfect for providing shade for the students and teachers in daily flag raising ceremonies and physical education classes at the field. The Rain Trees contribute significantly to the ecosystem in Hwa Chong. Its fissured barks that retain water, and becomes an excellent host to a variety of epiphytes, such as the Bird Nest ferns and Dragonscale Ferns, while its sugary pods provide food for the squirrels occasionally found wandering around the campus.
Lipstick Palm Cyrtostachys renda blume
The Lipstick Palm or Sealing Wax Palm has a prominent scarlet crownshaft and leaf sheath, which makes it stand out from other common palms. The hard outer wood of the stem can be used to make dart bodies. This popular ornamental palm adds a vibrant shade of vermilion to the predominantly green landscape on this part of the school. It is also not uncommon to spot bird nests built between the huge leaves of the palms. They must have been attracted to the red stems! Despite its common name, it is not a source of sealing wax. Instead, its name originated from the the similar colour of its red crownshaft and the wax used to seal letters.