In search of spring flowers #1: Hong Kong’s spider tree blossoms

We love the “oo-ing” and “ah-ing” we somehow allow ourselves to do when we see beautiful light pink blossoms in the midst of an urban cityscape – cherry blossoms in Tokyo, roses in Paris (“the roses in Paris are worth waiting for”) – and doing a pink-flower-and-scent-walk using our secret gardens in Paris map is one of the most longed-for dreamed-about things-to-dos as we plan our spring getaways in front of our laptops on a working Monday morning!

We have another one, this time in April in super-urban Hong Kong.

Our love for these little things in life never goes away.

This time the flowers we find in full bloom are not really light pink but more light cream and yellow with a tinge of pink, and they are from spider trees (Crateva unilocularis), forming a dense and beautiful sea of yellow and white in the Prince Edward Road West and Boundary Street area of Kowloon.  Set against St Teresa’s Church, a Grade I historical building, with the European-style church as background.

Nearby, the front and back of the flyover from Mong Kok to Tai Kok Tsui is surrounded by a sea of these flowers, making it beautiful and dreamy!  The flowering period lasts for about two weeks before withering, but even if you miss the golden period of blooming, the yellow and white petals are slowly fluttering and falling in the wind, which is also a romantic beauty.

Spider trees flower twice a year, once in spring, and once in the autumn, with its long and red filaments stretch out from the flowers which are similar to the spider legs hence its name!  Its leaves are said to strengthen the stomach – young leaves on treetop are used for preserved vegetables in Yunnan – while the wood of spider tree can be used for musical instruments and the peels for dyeing.