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Scientific Name Macaranga tanarius


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50 Common Trees in Hong Kong Volume 2



Scientific Name

Macaranga tanarius

Name in Chinese

血桐

Common Name

Elephant’s ear

Introduction


Macaranga tanarius is a kind of fast growing native evergreen tree with an umbrella-shaped crown of luxuriant foliage. It can stand up to strong winds, and it is tolerant to drought and saltiness. It is an ideal shade tree to be grown on the beach as it can grow in pure sand. In Hong Kong, it is commonly planted along roadsides and in country parks. However, it is a typical low altitude plant that it is rarely found at an altitude of 1000m above sea level.

Special Features

The leaves are heart-shaped, their texture thin and soft; usually clustered at the branch ends. The leaf stalk is attached to the leaf blade at about one quarter of the length from the base. The veins are radiating and conspicuous. The flowers are small, green and in axillary clusters.

To Learn More

The sap from the broken branches will oxidize and turn red. As the leaves resemble an elephant’s ear in appearance, it is also named “Elephant’s ear”. Its bark and roots have medicinal values in curing dysentery and hemoptysis. The seeds can be used to extract oil for industrial uses.






Characteristics

Whole Plant

Family

Euphorbiaceae

Height

Up to 5 metres

Nature

of Leaf

Evergreen tree

Others

With a large umbrella-shaped crown of luxuriant foliage

Photo

Tai Po Police Station

Branch

  • Trunk slightly twisted.

  • The sap exuded from the broken branches will oxidize and turn red.

Bark

Leaf

  • Simple leaves, alternate, heart-shaped, each 10 to 30 cm in length.

  • Leaf apex acute, base round or notched, margin entire or slightly toothed. Stalk attached to the leaf blade about 1/4 of the length from the base.

  • Smooth and hairless, cluster at branch ends; conspicuous veins, radiating and connected by many parallel cross veins.

Flower

Photo 1:

  • Flowering from late winter till spring.

  • Flowers unisexual, grow on separate trees.

  • Small, green in colour, cluster in the leaf axils.

  • Male flowers: in panicles.

Female flowers: enclosed in a toothed green bract.

  • Above is a close-up shot of the male flowers.

Photo 2:

  • Above is a close-up shot of the female flowers.

Fruit

  • Round, yellowish green capsule, powdery on the surface and covered with soft spines.

  • Opens into 2 to 3 valves to release the black seeds when ripen.




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