Heritage Trees of Penang (2015 reprint)


Simon Gardner, Pindar Sidisunthorn and Lai Ee May
First published in 2011 by Areca Books, reprinted in 2015
Hardcover, 27.3cm x 21.6cm,
397 pages, 1,200 colour photographs and 72 original watercolours
ISBN 9789675719066


A celebration of 200 trees which form an integral part of the natural, cultural and urban heritage of Penang. This unique book covers a wide range of both forest and cultivated species, each with a special story to tell. Taken as a whole Heritage Trees of Penang weaves a rich tapestry of the past and present that demonstrates why Penang is such a remarkable place. Richly illustrated with 72 original watercolours and over 1,200 photographs of trees found not only in Penang but Southeast Asia as well, this invaluable guide is a beautiful and authoritative companion to Penang’s botanical inheritance.

Read about the book launch here.

It is hoped that this book will encourage and inspire generations of readers to contribute to the conservation of trees in George Town and surrounding areas. (From our newsletter)

Editorial Reviews

“The title of this book is clearly what the book is about; the heritage trees of Penang, but what constitutes a heritage tree? Old, tall, wide, rare, weird and wonderful, and trees with a cultural significance and Penang is home to many of these…This book has given a temperate tree person a huge temptation to visit Penang…to observe some of the remarkable trees featured in this book.” Tony Kirkham, Kew Bulletin, Vol. 67:575 Y 576 (2012)

“This is a superb piece of work. The book weaves strands of history, botany, culture and the visual arts into a rich tapestry on the subject of the heritage trees of Penang. The book will appeal to the informed layperson as well to professionals working with plants. …. One of the key features of this book is that the authors have painstakingly provided stunning photographs illustrating the habits, trunks, fruits and flowers of the trees treated. These are augmented by exquisite botanical illustrations usually of the flowers and leaves. … The magnificent trees of the forest dominate with 49 species treated under their section. The photographs and illustrations in the section are among the best in the book.” S.K. Ganesan , Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 64(1): 273275. 2012

“This book is gold to anyone even remotely interested in learning to identify and appreciate trees…Heritage Trees Of Penang deserves a place on the shelves of every classroom, library and personal collection.” Angela Hijjas, The Star

Heritage Trees of Penang is a welcome effort and should stir further botanic interest amongst readers…This is an important milestone of a book which gives recognition to the immense botanic importance of Penang during colonial days” Ben Wismen, Penang Monthly

“A timely and valuable publication on the identification of the trees in Penang.” Kanda Kumar, Malaysian Nature Society

“Our rich national heritage is not just about historical buildings and multi-ethnic cultures. It’s important too to include the environmental perspective when billing our national treasures.” Angel Lai Ee May

“We believe that this will be the first, extensive book about the trees in Penang, and will appeal to everyone, especially locals who could recognise the trees in it.” The Star

About the Authors

Simon Gardner is a full-time researcher, photographer and writer, focusing on botanical and environmental issues. His principal publications include Field Guide to Forest Trees of Northern Thailand (Bangkok, 2000) and Caves of Northern Thailand (Bangkok, 2006).

Pindar Sidisunthorn is a professional botanical illustrator and writer. She has worked as a project coordinator for biodiversity surveys at Chiang Mai University and as a landscape architect for the Zoological Park Department, Thailand.

Lai Ee May has been a biology teacher for many years. She was formerly a lecturer at Disted College, Penang, as well as a research officer at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia and at Penang Botanic Gardens.

Table of Contents

  • Note to Reader Message from Lim Guan Eng
  • Foreword by Kanda Kumar
  • Preface
  • About the Authors
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • 1 Street Trees planted along roadsides and public spaces in George Town
  • 2 Garden Trees cultivated in Penang Botanic Gardens
  • 3 Sacred Trees with spiritual or ceremonial value, found in temples and graveyards
  • 4 Village Trees traditionally grown in kampungs for fruit, medicine and other uses
  • 5 Forest Trees native species of the rainforest on Penang Hill
  • 6 Coastal and Riverside Trees growing on sandy beaches and rocky headlands, in mangroves or along streams and rivers
  • Appendices Scientific index
  • Index

Click here for link to the book’s Facebook page.

Media coverage on Heritage Trees of Penang

A book on trees in Penang (The Star, Oct 2010)

Weight 1850 g
Dimensions 27.3 × 21.6 × 2.8 cm