We still have quite a few Tembusu trees 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 Tembusu trees are part of the primary forest cover on this land before the school was built - consequently, they are easily over a hundred years old. Despite their age and historical value, these trees were almost chopped down some years long ago. As a result, you will realise that they often have one or more stumps. Luckily, these trees were able to survive the ordeal. Do not be fooled by the pictures, all of these trunks belong to the same tree!
Teak tree Tectona grandis
Teak wood (柚木) is particularly valued for its durability and water resistance. Its natural oils also confers the tree the ability to resist termites in exposed locations. These high quality, hard timber behind the high school labs were kindly donated by our school alumnus Mr Tan Leong Teck (陈龙德学长) in the early 2000s. Mr Tan’s intentionally bought young Teaks which would act as a great store of value in the long term, thinking that they could be sold for some money just in case the school lacked funds in future. The Teaks’ papery leaves, usually a few times larger than an adult human’s palm, may sometimes be infested with mealybugs. At one point, due to its proximity to the fenced garden behind the science labs, the mealybugs affected the growth of hybridised orchids. Consequently, the tree was later moved to the periphery of the building.
Bengal Trumpet Thunbergia grandiflora
The huge wall of Bengal vines cover the entire fence beside the high school street soccer court. Capable of growing up to 20 m in height, the length and ingenious placement of these flower-bearing vines hide the hideous-looking fence, turning it into a tall plane of lush greenery spotted with countless purple flowers.
Alexandra Palm Archontophoenix alexandrae
Alexandra Palms are suited to regions of heavy rainfalls and have thus they have become a common species here in Singapore. This row of palms are still in its infancy, as evident from their height. At full maturation, they are capable of growing up to 25m, similar to the tall royal palms that line the river in High School, as well as the roads in various other parts of the school. Come back and take a look at them after a few years. You will be surprised by how tall they would have grown by then!