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The URA Incense Tree Plantation Programme

The URA Incense Tree Planting Programme

To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) launched an Incense Tree Planting Programme in 2017 with an aim to bring this valuable evergreen tree species from the countryside to the URA’s urban renewal projects, enabling more people to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of the incense trees and creating a harmonious atmosphere in the community.  Since the successful tree-planting of the first Incense tree at Citywalk in July 2017, a total of 20 incense trees have been planted at eight redevelopment and revitalisation projects, spanning rejuvenated urban districts including Central and Western districts, Tsuen Wan, Mong Kok, Kowloon City, Kai Tak and Kwun Tong.  

With the expert guidance from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and tree care professionals, the URA is able to continually improve on the methods of planting incense trees and their management, as well as strengthen the capability to navigate external variables.  These include a range of objective factors from selecting the sites for growing incense trees,  public accessibility to these sites, soil characteristics, tree registry, daily controls, to the application of technology, that will help identify the appropriate projects for the planting, and the subsequent preparation of a tree management plan.  Furthermore, the application of technology will enhance management abilities.  For example, by linking up the project’s own smart building monitoring system with the devices installed around the soil to track the crown, temperature, and humidity of the incense trees, property management staff can always check on the growth and soil conditions of the incense trees, and to administer proper care in a timely manner.  

About Incense Tree

Scientific name : Aquilaria sinensis (Lour.) Spreng.
Common name : Incense Tree
Growing habit: Evergreen tree
Height: To 15 m
Stems: Bark grey, smooth. Branchlets terrete, rugose, like the wrist of human
Leaves: Subovate, obovate to elliptic, apiculate. Leathery in texture. Glossy, dark green to purplish green adaxially, light green abaxially. Lateral veins many, slender

According to a historian Professor LO Hsiang-Lin, the Chinese character “Hong (香, means fragrant)” in Hong Kong (香港) is referring to the Incense Tree, ascribed by Hong Kong was the main place of production and port (“港” in Chinese, transliteration as “Kong”) of conveyance.

Incense Tree is the source of agarwood, which is a valuable incense. When the trunk of old tree injured, fungi would invade. At that time the tree releases resin for defence, this process is called “agar formation”. Hence agarwood is the product of Incense Tree and fungi. Apart from being an incense, applied as a Traditional Chinese Medicine, agarwood (Chenxiang) exhibits the functions of moving qi and relieving pain, warming the centre and stopping vomiting, promoting qi absorption and calming panting. The bark is the raw materials of high-quality papers, while the timber can be used to produce refined fragrance oil and joss sticks.

Sources: Greening, Landscape and Tree Management SectionDevelopment Bureau 

Incense Trees at the URA's Projects (as of November 2021)

Tsuen Wan Town Centre Project (Citywalk 1)

web photo 1Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕001K13
Seedling date﹕July 2017

2Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕002K13
Seedling date﹕August 2018

3Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕003K13
Seedling date﹕February 2019

618 Shanghai Street

4Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕004MK01
Seedling date﹕July 2019

18Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕018MK01
Seedling date﹕November 2021

Ma Tau Wai Road/ Chun Tin Street Project (eResidence)

5Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕005TKW/1/002
Seedling date﹕September 2019

6Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕006TKW/1/002
Seedling date﹕September 2019

7Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕007TKW/1/002
Seedling date﹕September 2019

Central Market

8Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕008CM
Seedling date﹕September 2020

9Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕009CM
Seedling date﹕September 2020

10Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕010CM
Seedling date﹕September 2020

20Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕020CM
Seedling date﹕November 2021

Kowloon City Road / Sheung Heung Road Project (Artisan Garden)

11Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕011KC007
Seedling date﹕June 2021

12Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕012KC007
Seedling date﹕June 2021

First Street / Second Street Project (Island Crest)

14Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕014H20
Seedling date﹕June 2021

Kwun Tong Yue Man Square (YM2)

15Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕015K7
Seedling date﹕June 2021

16Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕016K7
Seedling date﹕June 2021

19Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕019K7
Seedling date﹕November 2021

Third Street / Yu Lok Lane / Centre Street (The Nova) 

13Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕013SYP/1/001
Seedling date﹕June 2021

17Shooting Date: November 2021

Registration No.﹕017SYP/1/001
Seedling date﹕November 2021