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Seeing Red.

I Love Cotton Trees.

sunny

Branch of a cotton tree, possibly the most beautiful flower in the world.

Branch of a cotton tree, possibly the most beautiful flower in the world.

Recently I made the mistake of getting so bogged down in hysteria about COVID and running around shopping for our upcoming lockdown, whenever that is, that I temporarily forgot to look around me. When I finally woke up and opened my eyes, I discovered that Hong Kong's cotton trees were in full bloom and I was missing them. I love cotton trees. They are the most beautiful trees in the whole wide world. Today I decided to rectify missing out on them.

They look stunning against a bright blue sky.

They look stunning against a bright blue sky.

Blue Skies and Scarlet Flowers.

Blue Skies and Scarlet Flowers.

There are cotton trees all over the place here. In fact, I think, I first got acquainted with them walking down from my former school every day. In addition, when I travel from my home to Sunny Bay to take the MTR, the road is lined with them, but I would have to walk along the edge of a motorway to reach them. I wanted to discover the best place in Hong Kong to photograph them.

So beautiful.

So beautiful.

How many can grow on a single branch.

How many can grow on a single branch.

Well, nowadays I'm rather into the Google search, so I googled 'Where is the best place in Hong Kong to see cotton trees?' I was informed that there were many places such as: Cotton Tree Drive in Admiralty (there's a surprise), Lai Chi Kok Park (right next to where we got our third vaccination a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't leave Peter too long, so did not explore on this occasion), Central Library in Causeway bay and, apparently the pièce de résistance, Shek Kong Barracks. I next googled 'How do I to get to Shek Kong Barracks by public transport?' I was told to go to Kam Sheung Road MTR Station (I'm very partial to this area) then take a 77K or 54 bus.

I love them.

I love them.

It began to occur to me that I wasn't really all that likely to be able to wander around a People's Liberation Army of China Military Barracks, armed with a camera. My husband queried this, too. I looked on-line again.There were pictures. I decided there was only one way to find out. I took the MTR to Kam Sheung Road, exited through exit C and travelled four stops on a number 54 bus to Pat Heung Shek Kong Bridge. I got off right next to the barracks and guess what? It was surrounded by a huge fence. There was a guarded entry at one point, but I think, judging from all the 'military area, keep out signs' going up to the guard and saying: "Can I come come in and photograph your trees?"would not work out too well.

Red and Blue.

Red and Blue.

At first, I refused to give up. I tried walking round the rather large barracks looking for a place to view the trees. I could see several through the fence, but not get a good shot of them. Now maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there is an area that's open to the general public where you can photograph the trees, but sadly I did not find it.

Aren't they stunning?

Aren't they stunning?

Not too worry, there were lots of little villages on the other side of the road and I had noticed attractive looking trees over there, so I abandoned the barracks and went to take a look.

Close-up.

Close-up.

The first trees I encountered were not cotton trees, but they were also really beautiful.

I thought this plant was lovely

I thought this plant was lovely

It doesn't all have to be red.

It doesn't all have to be red.

Beautiful White Bauhinias.

Beautiful White Bauhinias.

Bauhinias close up.

Bauhinias close up.

Bauhinias and Mountain.

Bauhinias and Mountain.

Close-up.

Close-up.

So Pretty.

So Pretty.

I then spotted cotton trees at the side of the river so went off to take a look.

Cotton Trees by the River.

Cotton Trees by the River.

Bridge and Cotton Trees

Bridge and Cotton Trees

Cotton Trees and bridge.

Cotton Trees and bridge.

Houses by the river

Houses by the river

Flowers and Steps.

Flowers and Steps.

There were also some behind the village gateway and some in the villages with the mountains behind them

Village gateway and Cotton Trees.

Village gateway and Cotton Trees.

Mountain Scenery and Cotton Trees.

Mountain Scenery and Cotton Trees.

Mountain Scenery and Cotton Trees.

Mountain Scenery and Cotton Trees.

Apparently cotton trees, scientific name Bombax Ceiba, are native to India, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is believed that they may have been introduced to Hong Kong from India. Cotton trees, are also known as hero trees, due to their straight and sturdy trunks. They grow to an average height of twenty metres, though some have grown as tall as sixty metres.

Tall Cotton Trees.

Tall Cotton Trees.

Stunning Cotton Trees

Stunning Cotton Trees

Of course, the name hero trees is also associated with a legend. Long ago, Jibei, an intelligent and brave general, lived on Hainan Island. When his island was attacked by enemies, who wanted to steal its rich natural resources, he helped drive the invaders away. However, he was tricked by a traitor in his camp who persuaded him to go to the top of Wuzhi Shan, or Five Fingers Mountain. The enemy awaited him there and fired hundreds of arrows into his body. Jibei remained standing even as he died and the gods, rewarded his bravery by turning him into a tall straight tree. His blood turned the tree's flowers bright red.

Cotton tree in the village

Cotton tree in the village

Cotton tree in the village

Cotton tree in the village

Such Beauty!

Such Beauty!

Cotton trees bloom in February and March. In April and May they shed their seeds, thousands of them, which fall from the sky like snow or like cotton, hence their name. These seeds can be used to stuff mattresses or upholstery. The seeds blowing on mass across the sky, like the flowers blooming, is incredibly beautiful.

Close-up of a cotton flower

Close-up of a cotton flower

Laden Branch.

Laden Branch.

The flowers of the cotton tree have medicinal properties and are one of the ingredients in Chinese five flower herbal tree. This tea apparently helps alleviate the symptoms of flu.

Beautiful Red Blooms.

Beautiful Red Blooms.

So Elegant!

So Elegant!

When I had finished wandering along the river, I returned to the main road which was filled with auto repair shops. I found a car covered in cotton tree flowers.

Cotton Flower Laden Car.

Cotton Flower Laden Car.

I caught the bus back to Kam Sheung Road MTR Station and was delighted to find this area was full of cotton trees, too. Even the ground was turned into a beautiful red carpet of fallen flowers.

Bridge Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

Bridge Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

Bridge Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

Bridge Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

River Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

River Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

River Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

River Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

Cotton flowers fall on a little shrine.

Cotton flowers fall on a little shrine.

Flowers Litter the ground

Flowers Litter the ground

Posted by irenevt 14:37 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

I'm not familiar with the cotton trees, but they are amazine

by greatgrandmaR

I've not seen a picture of cotton trees before, lovely.

by alectrevor

Hi Rosalie, I think cotton trees are mainly found in Asia. The flowers are generally quite high up. I used my camera zoom rather than my phone zoom to take these.

by irenevt

Hi Alec, there are many lovely trees here, but cotton trees are my favourite.

by irenevt

They are glorious, although I like the white bauhinias too, for contrast! Are you really heading into another lockdown?

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, things are a bit vague at the moment. We have gone from being largely COVID free, to yesterday, for example, having over 50,000 cases. We now have the highest per capita COVID death rate in the world. The government wants to do a mass testing which would probably involve a 9 day lockdown. but it's not definite and there's no date yet. They originally said late March but now they are saying later than this as it's so complicated to organise.

by irenevt

Love your cotton trees. My favorite tree is the flamboyant that I met in Haiti. It has bright red blossoms too. It probably helps that my favorite color is red. You got some gorgeous photos.

by Beausoleil

Hi Sally, I love all these flowering trees. I'll look the flamboyant up, see if I've ever come across it.

by irenevt

Actually I think we have flamboyant trees here, too. Or certainly something very similar.

by irenevt

What a brilliant vivid colours! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna, I really do think these trees are beautiful. I look forward to them blooming each year.

by irenevt

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