Tereng­ganu MB: RM180,000 tree hi­ber­nat­ing, not dead

New Straits Times - - News -

KUALA TERENG­GANU: The state govern­ment has re­futed a re­port claim­ing that an im­ported Brazil­ian silk floss tree, cost­ing RM180,000, has died five months af­ter be­ing trans­planted in Kuala Nerus.

It is now mulling le­gal ac­tion against those who made the claims.

Tereng­ganu Men­teri Be­sar Datuk Seri Ah­mad Razif Ab­dul Rah­man yes­ter­day slammed the re­port as in­ac­cu­rate.

“Firstly, the tree is not dead. This species ac­tu­ally ‘hi­ber­nates’ and the leaves may have fallen off due to the hot trop­i­cal weather and soil conditions.

“Sec­ondly, we, the state govern­ment, did not buy the tree and are not re­spon­si­ble for its up­keep.

“The tree was pro­vided by the town­ship’s project con­trac­tor as part of its de­vel­op­ment plan to beau­tify the park.

“So, please do not drag us into the con­tro­versy. The mat­ter has been ex­plained be­fore,” said Razif at the Na­tional SME Week 2017 launch by In­ter­na­tional Trade and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Mustapa Mo­hamed at Tereng­ganu Trade Cen­tre.

Razif said he would re­fer the mat­ter to the state le­gal ad­viser for ac­tion, in­clud­ing sum­mon­ing peo­ple to court.

In Fe­bru­ary, Razif’s ad­min­is­tra­tion was ac­cused of spend­ing pub­lic funds to buy the 3.5m tree.

The mat­ter was de­bated at the state assem­bly.

He had said that the tree had been con­trib­uted by the town­ship’s project con­trac­tor to beau­tify the land­scape and was a land­mark to draw vis­i­tors to the new town­ship.

The silk floss tree, Ceiba speciosa, is a species of de­cid­u­ous tree that loses its leaves sea­son­ally, leav­ing the plant bar­ren of any fo­liage or flow­ers for a cer­tain pe­riod, sim­i­lar to the leaves of the maple trees in au­tumn.

The loss of its fo­liage gives an im­pres­sion that it is hi­ber­nat­ing and to those un­fa­mil­iar would think that the plant is dead.

The silk floss tree in Kuala Nerus is go­ing through a win­ter­ing phase and will pro­duce leaves and bloom when conditions are right.

The tree, in its nat­u­ral habi­tat in Ar­gentina, Bo­livia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil, is ex­posed to drought and mod­er­ate cold, which ex­plains the wa­ter re­ten­tion based on the vase-shaped trunk and leaf­less canopy.

De­spite hi­ber­nat­ing, the tree trunk is ca­pa­ble of pho­to­syn­the­sis due to high chloro­phyll con­tent, es­pe­cially in young trees.


The silk floss tree in Kuala Nerus, Tereng­ganu.

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