8 flowers to find in Hong Kong, and when they bloom
- Look up from your iPhone and spot these unique blossoms all throughout the city, whether you’re hiking or strolling through city parks
- Check out the iconic bauhinia on the city’s flag and the “fried egg plant” that is also native to the area
When we’re walking through Hong Kong, sometimes we are so focused on our phones, that we forget how much beauty there is around us. The city’s gardens and country parks are full of flowering plants and trees. But some of them flower only for a short time. If you don’t know when that happens, you might miss out.
Here are eight beautiful blooms you can admire in Hong Kong, and when and where to find them.
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Bauhinia x blakeana Dunn 洋紫荊
The iconic bauhinia flower is also known as the Hong Kong orchid tree. It was first chosen to be the city’s official flower in 1965, long before it was used in the design of Hong Kong’s flag in 1997 when it became the region’s emblem. You may also have seen the leaves before. They’re large, green, and look like a butterfly. They are known as “clever leaves”, and in Hong Kong, it is seen as a symbol of wisdom. Sometimes, students will place the leaves in their books to bring them good luck in their studies.
Where to find them: The Hong Kong orchid tree is native to the city, and they can be found in Lung Fu Shan Country Park on The Peak and in the Botanical Gardens in Central.
In bloom: from November to March
Polyspora axillaris 大頭茶
The Chinese name translates to “big head tea”, but it is also known as the “fried egg plant” because of its large yellow centre and white petals.
Where to find them: This flower is native to Hong Kong, and is commonly found on hillsides, especially around Lion Rock.
In bloom: from September through to October
Camellia hongkongensis 香港茶
Of all the camellia species that are native to Hong Kong, only this kind has red flowers. Similar to the Camellia granthamiana, the Hong Kong Camellia is an endangered species.
Where to find them: Most of them can be found in the Shing Mun Arboretum, but you can also find them in Pok Fu Lam Country Park, and on Mount Nicholson and Mount Parker.
In bloom: from December to February
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Camellia granthamiana 葛量洪茶
This flower comes in all shapes and sizes. This particular kind is an endangered species. It is also known as Grantham’s Camellia, as it was named after Sir Alexander Grantham, the 22nd governer of Hong Kong.
Where to find them: It was discovered in Tai Mo Shan in 1955, and you can still find them there in the Shing Mun Arboretum, and in the Camellia Garden in the Botanical Gardens.
In bloom: for a very short time from March through to April
Crateva unilocularis 樹頭菜
You may have seen this tree without thinking it was special. They are often planted near roads because they can stand up well to the wind. The branches produce many flowers that look like spiders, with their long spindly fibres, or “filaments”, so it is also known as the Spider Tree. The name in Chinese means “treetop vegetables”. In Yunnan province, the young leaves are said to be good for digestion, so people eat them as a preserved vegetable. The wood can also be used for making musical instruments.
Where to find them: It can be found in Kowloon Park and Mong Kok.
In bloom: from March through May
Delonix regia 鳳凰木
This large tree erupts in bright red flowers, which is why it is sometimes called the “flame of the forest”.
Where to find them: It can be found all over the world, but in Hong Kong, you can find it in Victoria Park and on the south side of Hong Kong Island.
In bloom: from May to July
Lagerstroemia speciosa 洋紫薇
This flower is also known as Queen’s Crepe Myrtle, because the crinkled petals have a similar texture to crepe paper. The flowers range from bright pink to purple.
Where to find them: It is native to tropical Asia, and in Hong Kong, you can find them in Kowloon Park and Happy Valley.
In bloom: from May to July
Nelumbo nucifera 蓮花
This is the lotus flower, and you’ve probably seen one before, and even eaten its root. Seen as a symbol of longevity, this flower, also known as a water lily, looks beautiful in any pond or lake.
Where to find them: Find them in Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong Wetland Park, and Shing Mun Valley Park.
In bloom: from June to August