Hong Kong Autumn Leaves Express
12 January 2016
Enjoy the view of red autumn leaves in Hong Kong! Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has launched “Red Leaves Express” setting out hotspots for appreciating autumn leaves in Hong Kong country parks and the red leaf index.
Tai Tong has become a popular spot for appreciating autumn leaves in recent years. Other hotspots for seeing autumn leaves in Hong Kong include Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir Barbecue Area No. 4 in Tai Lan Country Park, Picnic site no.2 to 3 along the Pineapple Dam Nature Trail in Shing Mun Country Park and along the forest track in Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve. The red leaf index is updated every Friday.
Why do leaves turn red?
There are three types of pigments present in the leaves of plants, namely chlorophyll (green), carotenoids (yellow) and anthocyanin (red). Dry weather, low temperature and strong sunlight fasten the decomposition of chlorophyll and facilitate the production of anthocyanin in leaves while the carotenoids is unaffected. As the green chlorophyll in leaves depletes, yellow carotenoids and red anthocyanin become visible and consequently, we see the phenomenon of some leaves turning yellow and red in autumn.
According to AFCD, leaves of Liquidambar formosana (Sweet Gum), Sapium discolour (Mountain Tallow Tree) and Sapium sebiferum (Chinese Tallow Tree) will turn red in autumn and winter in Hong Kong.