Sunday, May 23, 2010
Dipterocarpus alatus--iconic giant street tree of Ho Chi Minh City
I visited Ho Chi Minh City recently and was amazed to see giant trees of Dipterocarpus alalus growing as street trees in the older parts of the city. I estimate their age to be 80 to 100 years, which means they would have been planted during French colonial rule. Dipterocarpus alatus belongs to Dipterocarpaceae, which is the dominant timber-tree family of SE Asia. Dipterocarpus alatus itself is native to Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Philippines.
In Malaysia and Singapore two other members of the family have been planted as street trees in the past 10 - 20 years. These are Hopea odorata (also commonly planted in Vietnam) and Shorea roxburghii. Both are doing well as street trees and will eventually become giants.