Hong Kong

Video: The moment Hong Kong’s biggest ‘wall tree’ came crashing down

Two people were left injured today after a giant tree fell on Bonham Road in the Mid-levels, closing both lanes of traffic along the busy thoroughfare.

Standing roughly 20 meters tall, the towering banyan is believed to have been the tallest in Hong Kong growing out of a stone wall.

Hong Kong Observatory raised the amber rainstorm warning signal during heavy rainfall at 3:35am, indicating downpours of more than 30 millimetres an hour in parts of the territory.

bonhambanyan

Photo: TY Chan.

Both of the injured have been taken to Queen Mary Hospital, where their condition remains unknown.

冧樹一刻曝光 7秒內瞓低險象環生!【般咸道冧大樹 扯冧護土牆壓男女】http://bit.ly/1IjDE5q【冧樹一刻曝光 7秒內瞓低】http://bit.ly/1Lsrwjo【同區塌樹殺人 壓死孕婦最轟動】http://bit.ly/1TPmgHU【塌樹列入古樹名木冊】http://bit.ly/1LssUm0【大樹塌向對面樓 掃甩冷氣機無損結構】http://bit.ly/1Lsrw2O【只差少少壓車頭 司機:咁我就玩完!】http://bit.ly/1HIhbf7===========================跟實我哋 【 現場 - 蘋果突發】就會知更多社會事#黃雨之災 #冧樹 #記者講兩句

Posted by 現場 - 蘋果突發 on 2015年7月21日

The fallen tree was uprooted from a wall opposite the Centre Street escalators near the recently opened Sai Ying Pun MTR station.

bonhambanyan

Photo: Alvin Poon.

In 1996, Hong Kong was estimated to have 1,275 trees growing out of 505 retaining walls. With many streets built along flattened slopes, Central and Western District possesses the highest concentration of  these distinctive “stonewall trees” with over one hundred.

Assistant Professor Matthew Pryor, head of the University of Hong Kong’s Division of Landscape Architecture, told HKFP that the fallen tree was most likely 70-80 years old.

Stonewall trees are a unique landscape feature for Hong Kong. Few other world cities boast so many walls with spontaneous vegetation in an urban setting, according to Prof CY Jim, Chair Professor of HKU’s Department of Geography.

As traditional stone block walls have been supplanted by reinforced concrete, however, the trees have become doubly unique due to their irreplaceable nature.

On Monday afternoon, a 14-metre banyan tree weighing up to ten tonnes was uprooted by the strong winds outside Central Government Offices, crashing down on a van and striking a cleaning woman from a nearby construction site.

Video: The moment Hong Kong's biggest 'wall tree' came crashing down