Terengganu MB: RM180,000 tree hibernating, not dead
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.