Hong Kong ecological group discovers never-before-seen bauhinia

  • Green Power first noticed the flower during a survey of Sha Lo Tung in Tai Po last summer
  • The biggest difference from the city’s official flower is its light green petals
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We hope to see a pic of Hong Kong's newest bauhinia soon!

A local green group has found a kind of bauhinia not seen before in Hong Kong, it says.

Green Power first noticed the Bauhinia aperilobata, during an ecological survey of Sha Lo Tung in Tai Po last June. It is of the same family as the city’s official flower, the Bauhinia blakeana. The flowering plant is a vine, which climbs around larger trees towards the top where there is more sunlight.

“The discovery of the Bauhinia aperilobata confirms Sha Lo Tung’s ecological value,” said Tommy Yu Kin-kong, Green Power’s assistant education and project manager said the new discovery showed that the area of Sha Lo Tung is ecologically valuable.

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“We believe there hasn’t been any official record of the plant before this, either because its distribution is not wide, or they were possibly in places where people rarely go,” he said.

The group had waited until the plant flowered, before being able to fully confirm its exact species, Yu said.

The Bauhinia aperilobata, normally found in southern China throughout Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangdong and Guangxi provinces, was different from other kinds of bauhinia seen in Hong Kong, said Peggy Chung Chui-shan, Green Power’s education and project manager. The flowers have light green petals.

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Green Power’s ecological survey of Sha Lo Tung started in April 2018 as part of a deal with the government. Early on in the survey, rare plants and animals were discovered, such as Romer’s tree frog, which only lives in Hong Kong and that everyone thought was extinct.

They also spotted crab-eating mongoose and Ryukyu Dusk-hawker dragonflies.

Sha Lo Tung was listed in 2004 as one of 12 important sites to be protected under a new policy to conserve the city’s important natural resources.

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