Old Trees, the Living Heritage in Penang

 

City Eye #07 2

 

会呼吸的古迹

老树世纪遮荫

Old Trees, the Living Heritage in Penang

一座美丽的城市,

通常种满绿树。

槟城树多,

泰半过百岁。

英殖民政府1802年开始种树,

将多种热带树木引进移植,

成就今日绿叶成荫。

两百年过去,

老树继续茁壮参天。

它们比一些战前老房子还老,

它们是会呼吸的古迹。

只不过,尽管天天见面,

人们不知树有树名,

忽略了槟城老树是东南亚区域里

长得特多特好的。

Penang is a beautiful city full of trees.  Since British colonial government started to plant trees in 1802, and introduced a variety of tropical trees in Penang, today these century-old trees that are older than some prewar old buildings turn out to be a living heritage.
Despite living in the city with trees, most of us seem to forget that Penang has the best collection of old trees in Southeast Asia.

 

守护者
Guardian

黎意媚懂树,爱树,种树,也写树。这位理科大学植物学系毕业,曾在英国伦敦皇家植物园受训的植物学家,在2011年和两位伙伴Simon Gardner 和 Pindar  Sidisunthorn 出版了《Heritage Tree Of Penang》(槟城古树)的英文大书。

三人用四年走遍槟城各角落,收集约两百种老树的个性、功能、价值和来历,将它们不为人知的生平图文并茂。重甸甸的书恰恰反映老树群厚重身世,记录了槟岛珍贵的自然遗产,开启人们的老树认知。

“很多人不在乎他们身边的树,把大树遮荫视为理所当然。很少人叫得出他常见的树,把树木看成一个样。其实每一棵树一年里的不同时候展现不一样姿态。老树塑造了城市景观,不同树木有它的药用价值,它还是人们的心灵倚赖。”

槟城最多最美的老树,非青龙木(Angsana)莫属。这树源自缅甸,1802年开始在乔治市大量种植。1920年新马经历了严重的青龙木虫害,让新加坡和马六甲失去许多青龙木,唯槟城不受影响,并继续常青。

槟城的绿树风景分为六大类,即街树、花园树、神灵树、村树、森林树及海或河边树。黎意媚希望大家从这些日常老树风景中看见在地的美丽。

Lai Ee May, a tree lover and writer. She is a Botany graduate from Universiti Sains Malaysia and a researcher at Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London. In 2011 she published “Heritage Tree of Penang” with her two partners, Simon Gardner and Pindar  Sidisunthorn.

After spending four years walking in every corner of Penang, three of them have collected and documenting the characteristics, functions, values and origins over 200 species of native, to introduce old trees in Penang and  generate public’s interest in botanical heritage.

“Most people does not care about trees around them, and they hardly tell names of trees because they think all trees look the same. Actually each tree has different looks in different seasons. Old trees form the beauty of a city, and they not only have medicinal value, but also are our soul companion.”

Angsana is the most common and beautiful tree in Penang. Originates from Myanmar, Angsana was planted in Penang since 1802. However, majority of these trees in both Melaka and Singapore were killed by a disease in the 1920s. On the other hand, Penang’s Angsana was not affected and continued to flourish.

Penang’s trees are classified into six types, namely street trees, garden trees, sacred trees, village trees, forest trees, and coastal trees. Lai hopes people could see the beauty of Penang through old trees.

 

绿隧道
Green Tunnel

中路是槟城最美的一条道路。十九世纪初种下的青龙木,

相思树和Mahogany,茂密苍翠,

树梢在空中靠拢在一起,形成绿色隧道。

青龙木每年开出漫天黄花的四五月,将绿色隧道化上黄妆。

Macalister Road is the most beautiful road in Penang. Angsana, Saga and Mahogany which were planted in the early 19th century form a green tunnel along the road. In April and May, yellowish blossoms of Angsana appear to light up the green tunnel.

 

看生死
Seeing lives and death

鸡蛋花树(Frangipani) 虽美,

它的死亡之花角色,却一直深植东方人心里。

红毛路基督教坟场是槟城最早墓园,

英殖民地总督高官,包括开埠者莱特上校的安息地。

鸡蛋花树在墓里走道夹道生长,与蕨类共生。

苍苍岁月除了刻在墓志铭上,也长在天荒地老的鸡蛋花树上。

Frangipani is a beautiful flower that symbolizes death and is deeply rooted in Asian heart. Frangipani grows well with ferns in graveyards, such as Northam Road Protestant Cemetery, the earliest Protestant Cemetery in Penang where the first Governors and administrators were interred, including Francis Light.

 

树与神
Tree and God

树长老了则有灵性,很多人这么相信。

菩提树和榕树和民间信仰靠得最紧。

瀑布路 Shree Muniswarar 百年印度庙依偎的同龄菩提树,

庙里义工说,菩提老树每个年代都呈现不同面貌。

目前树身隆起一圈圈圆状,不断有嫩叶长出,欣欣向荣。

Most people believe that old trees have spirits. Bodhi and banyan are among those have close ties with religion. A volunteer in Shree Muniswarar said, the Bodhi tree which sticks close to the hundred-year temple in Waterfall Road look different throughout years. Tree rings could be seen and small leaves keep growing out of the tree trunk.

 

丹绒树
Tanjong Tree

除了槟榔屿这旧称,老人家还把槟城唤作丹绒(Tanjung)。

丹绒是伞形,开阔,树形极美的树。

丹绒花开时,淡黄色小黄花散发悠香,香气在黄昏后特强烈。

其中一棵美丽丹绒树,

是由日本皇太子1970年官访槟城时在旧关仔角种下的。

Tanjong tree has a spreading shape like an umbrella and its yellowish flowers release strong fragrance especially at dusk. One of the tanjong trees in Padang Kota Lama was planted by Japanese prince during his official visit to Penang in 1970.

 

身份证
Identification

2013年开始,槟岛市政厅给为老树发了“身份证”。

York Road,瀑布路和中路的百年老树的树身上,

都挂着清楚列明树种、植物学名、编号、位置的身份证。

路上数百棵青龙木、相思树,

Mahagony树等已让专员进行健康检查、估价,纳入资讯系统,

甚至以卫星定位系统管理。老树受到尊重与呵护,以常青回馈。

In 2013, Penang Municipal Council has created “identity card” for old trees. Each century-old tree at York Road, Waterfall Road and Macalister Road is clearly listed its species, botanical name, serial number and location. These trees have been inspected and evaluated by specialist and also recorded into system, as well as managed by Global.

 

永优雅
Grace

1920年代已出现在 E & O 酒店名信片里的苹婆树(Kelumpang Jari),

百年之后仍挺立着,绽放着。

长着红色风眼果的苹婆树高约四十米,

台湾作家舒国治数年前初见这老树即被迷住了,

惊叹于老树和乔治市如此长久地依靠着。

Kelumpang Jari was first spotted in the E&O Hotel postcard in the 1920s. The century-old tree grows up to 40m tall with beautiful red fruit. Taiwanese author Shu Guo Zhi was amazed by how long it lives with the city.

 

重生纪
Rebirth

从非洲到槟城,从垂死到重生,

144岁的面包树(baobab)在槟城经历了神奇的生命历程。

老树是英国官员Speedy上尉1871年栽种,

源自非洲埃塞俄比亚,巨大树干能储存五千公升水。

生在州元首府路与中路交界处的老树年前垂死,

经专心护理,这棵大马最老的面包树越发茂盛,开花结果。

From Africa to Penang, 144-year-old baobab was first planted in Penang by Speedy in 1871. Baobab was originated in Ethiopia, Africa and its thick trunk could store up to 5000 litres water. Located at the junction of Jalan Residensi and Jalan Macalister, Baobab, the oldest plant in Malaysia which was dying few years ago has now become majestic and lush after well treated.

 

穿过屋
Shade for Houses

海杏树(Ketapang)大多生长热带海边,

亦散布乔治市街巷,紧紧依市民生活。

它常穿越民居屋顶,给数代人纳凉。

大树长椭圆的叶子每年脱落两次,

会在枯萎过程中转为黄、红、棕及金色,为炎热天空增添秋意。

Ketapang is commonly grown on sandy shore and George Town streets, providing shade for houses. Its oval-shaped leaves turn yellow, red, brown and gold before dropping off up to twice a year.
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First published in Penang City Eye, Nov 2015- Jan 2016, Issue 7.