Make your own Dover Forest heritage tree nomination

Feel free to use the data, tree descriptions, and images in this table to fill out NParks' heritage tree nomination form.

Nominee Location Brief description of tree Reason for nomination Image
Nominee 1:
Ficus microcarpa
1.312671566, 103.777572 Species: Jejawi (Ficus microcarpa)
Girth: 7.9 m
Height: 30 m

The Dover Forest area in which this tree is found was once part of a kampong interchangeably call "Tua Kang Lye" or "Hong Hin Hill" by the Hakkas and Hokkiens who settled it from the early 1900s to the late 1970s. A stone marker with the three characters for "Hong Hin Hill" can still be found in the forest not far from the tree, together with two abandoned stone wells - all testaments to the history of the area. Although abandoned for some forty years, many trees that were either allowed to stand or were cultivated by the Tua Kang Lye villagers still stand. The "Environmental Baseline Study for Dover / Ulu Pandan", the report of a 2017 HDB-commissioned environmental study of the Dover Forest area, lists 27 of its trees as "large trees of significance". One of the largest of these 27 trees is this magnificent specimen, a Jejawi tree that dwarfs all the trees surrounding it and captivates with its sheer size and beauty. This tree should date back to the Tua Kang Lye times, making it very probably half a century old at the minimum.

Nominee 2:
Cyrtophyllum fragrans
1.31418525, 103.7746010 (approximate) Species: Tembusu (Cyrtophyllum fragrans)
Girth: 3.5 m
Height: at least 30 m

The Tembusu is a native tree that is quite seldom encountered growing wild. It is all the more rare to have an entire grove of at least six such trees in an abandoned woodland such as Dover Forest. This specimen is one of the biggest in this grove, boasting a straight, massive, deeply fissured dark brown trunk that bursts into foliage above the canopy of the surrounding trees at least 30 m vertically above its base.

Between 1900 and 1980 Dover Forest used to be part of a kampong of Hakka and Hokkien people, interchangeably called "Tua Kang Lye" or "Hong Hin Hill". A stone marker bearing the three characters of the latter name can still be found in the forest next to two abandoned wells, testament to the rich but relatively unknown history of the area. The kampong settlers cultivated many fruit trees such as longan, mango, and durian, many of which still stand and thrive today, and this nominee - the largest Tembusu in a grove of six - very probably must have been allowed to stand together with its neighbours by those same settlers. It deserves to be protected as a Heritage Tree given its size, beauty, probable great age, status as a native species, its role as a food source for local birds and bats, and its significance in the history of the area in which it stands.

Nominee 3:
Durio zibethinus
1.31175315, 103.780104 Species: Durian (Durio zibethinus)
Girth: 2.34 m
Height: 20 m

The Dover Forest area used to be called interchangeably "Tua Kang Lye" or "Hong Hin Hill" by the Hakkas and Hokkiens who settled it and its immediate surroundings from the early 1900s right up to the end of the 1970s. These settlers cultivated many fruit trees such as durian, longan, mango and pomegranate, many of which still stand today. This specimen is one of the larger fruit trees in the area, and is listed in the report of a 2017 HDB-commissioned Environmental Baseline Study as one of 27 "large trees of significance" found by the study's surveyors. Being of relatively large stature, this tree is very probably planted by the settlers of the Tua Kang Lye kampong, and as such it has quite a bit of historical significance. It is a thing of beauty as well, towering high in the forest with its leaves above the canopy and boasting very impressive buttress roots.

Nominee 4:
Senegal Mahogany,
Khaya senegalensis
1.309423926, 103.7824003 Species: Senegal Mahogany (Khaya senegalensis)
Girth: 4.65 m
Height: 35 m

This specimen is a very large Senegal Mahogany tree, one of two along Commonwealth Avenue West on the side of and near the slip road entering into Ghim Moh Link. This is a beautiful and elegant tree with a straight trunk that was 4.65 m in girth when measured by the surveyors conducting an environmental baseline study of the area commission by HDB in 2017. The tree could have grown even bigger since then.

Given a lack of Heritage Trees in the vicinity of Commonwealth Avenue West, the nearest being four brown woolly fig trees in Singapore Polytechnic that is not usually accessible by the public, this handsome tree would definitely be a worthy start to the discovery and endorsement of more such trees in the area.

Nominee 5:
Grey fig,
Ficus virens
(critically endangered)
1.313237363, 103.7761145 Species: Grey Fig (Ficus virens)
Girth: 10.99 m
Height: 25 m

This massive Ficus virens is a critically endangered species that is native to Singapore. It was discovered and measured in 2017 by surveyors engaged by HDB to conduct an environmental baseline study of the Dover Forest area. There is currently no representative of this species amongst the nearly 300 Heritage Trees in Singapore, making this magnificent specimen an especially worthy addition to the Heritage Tree Register. Given its sheer size, this tree must be a very old one that probably grew from or before the early 1900s when the Dover Forest area was settled by Hakka and Hokkien pioneers and named interchangeably the "Tua Kang Lye" or "Hong Hin Hill" kampong, adding to its historical significance.

Nominee 6:
Ficus benjamina
1.3112507, 103.7823942 Species: Waringin (Ficus benjamina)
Girth: 5.3 m
Height: 28 m

The eastern patch of Dover Forest (in the middle of which this tree is located) used to be a kampong that was set up in around 1905 and abandoned in the early 1980s. Although the people of the kampong - mostly Anxi Hokkiens surnamed Chua - cleared the land for cultivation, they very likely left some of the original trees alone, and this very large Ficus benjamina could very well be one of the spared trees, given how much such banyan trees could be revered by local shamanist-taoists. The great age of this strangling fig can be guessed at from its great girth of more than 5 m, its height, and from the fact that it has completely subsumed and supplanted its host tree such that no trace of the latter can now be discerned. This breathtaking tree is definitely a worthy candidate for Heritage Tree.

Nominee 7:
Common Pulai,
Alstonia angustiloba
1.315802891, 103.77349 Species: Common Pulai (Alstonia angustiloba)
Girth: 2.7 m
Height: 25 m

It is a happy situation to have a native tree like the Common Pulai growing to such a considerable size in Dover Forest, a 40 to 50 years old secondary regrowth forest. This specimen boasts a very distinctively straight trunk approaching 3 m in girth that reaches through the canopy to branch its foliage out above that of the surrounding trees. The existence of this large and beautiful tree strongly suggests that our native species have the ability to regenerate in non-pristine regrowth forest patches within our urban sprawl. As a symbol of the resilience of our native flora it is deserving of protection, and for its size and beauty it is deserving of endorsement as a Heritage Tree.

Nominee 8:
Red Stem-Fig,
Ficus variegata
1.311100, 103.782247 Species: Red stem-fig (Ficus variegata)
Girth: 3.0 m
Height: at least 20 m

This is a beautiful red-stem fig, Ficus variegata, a native tree species which has yet to be represented in the Heritage Tree register. Since it is one of the larger trees within the half-century old Dover Forest, its approximate age should be around 50 years. This tree is a worthy Heritage Tree nominee for several reasons - its great size, its impressive buttress roots and straight soaring trunk, its role as a keystone food resource for the fauna of Dover Forest made possible by its profuse fruiting all year round, and the very fact that the red stem-fig has yet to be represented in the Heritage Tree register - a real pity considering this is one of our very own native trees!

Nominee 9:
Pterocarpus indicus
1.309163149, 103.7829773 Species: Angsana (Pterocarpus indicus)
Girth: 3.4 m
Height: at least 20 m

This towering angsana with gracefully weeping branches drapes all who pass along the pedestrian walkway under it with its caressing shade, yet precious few look up to find the source of their comfort, let alone try to discover the identity of this silent giant that marks the southeastern corner of Dover Forest.

The Heritage Tree Scheme aims to conserve the mature trees of Singapore and to educate the public that such trees play an important role in our urban landscape. This tree is a worthy candidate for several reasons. It is conspicuous for its size and its location at a corner of a road junction, but ironically it is at the same time inconspicuous to most people who pass it and to most of the Ghim Moh Link residents who open their windows everyday to it. If this tree becomes a Heritage Tree, more people will get to know about it and become aware of the Heritage Tree Scheme. Having a Heritage Tree right at their doorstep would be a source of pride and wonder for the residents of Ghim Moh Link. To serve its aim, the Heritage Tree Scheme should endorse more trees like this that are easily accessible by the public - the nearest Heritage Trees to the Ghim Moh Link residents are four brown fig trees located inside the grounds of Singapore Polytechnic and are not publicly accessible. This tree can become an ambassador for the Heritage Tree Scheme to the many residents who live in the Ghim Moh and Dover HDB estates.

This tree is estimated to be about half a century old, based on the age of Dover Forest, a secondary regrowth forest of which it is a part.

Nominee 10:
Para Rubber,
Hevea brasiliensis
1.313447, 103.776821 Species: Para Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis)
Girth: 2.6 m
Height: at least 20 m

The Dover Forest area in which this rubber tree is located made up the northern extremity of Tan Kim Seng's estate and rubber plantation that existed up to World War Two. Following the war, the rubber plantation was abandoned and the part of it in the current Dover Forest area was cleared for a kampong. The kampong villagers probably left some of the rubber trees standing, and this large tree could be one of these remnants of Tan Kim Seng's plantation.

The Heritage Tree Scheme seeks to preserve the mature trees of Singapore. This impressive rubber tree with its soaring moss and lichen mottled trunk is definitely a worthy candidate, being very probably of such old age that it could have seen the pre-war days of Tan Kim Seng's estate and rubber plantation. The age of this tree can be reasonably estimated to be at least half a century, given that it is of greater girth than Heritage Tree 2018-294, also a para rubber tree and estimated to be at least 50 years old when endorsed in 2018.

Nominee 11:
Grey fig,
Ficus virens
(critically endangered)
1.312953, 103.774885 Species: Grey Fig (Ficus virens)
Girth: 3.7 m
Height: 14 m

Ficus virens is a nationally critically endangered flora, of which there were only 19 recorded mature trees in Singapore as of 2013. In late 2020, the 20th tree was reported to be found in Dover Forest in an environmental impact assessment conducted by Aecom. This nominee is the 21st mature F. virens in Singapore, as reported in a manuscript for a biodiversity record submitted to the journal Nature in Singapore on 18 May 2021. F. virens is currently unrepresented in the Heritage Tree Register, and the extreme rarity of its species makes this nominee worthy of conservation and protection as a Heritage Tree. This nominee is situated just opposite to the School of Science and Technology, where students from that school can immediately see it when they use the zebra crossing at Technology Drive after each school day - what better way to achieve the conservation and educational aims of the Heritage Tree Scheme than to make it known that there is such a critically endangered tree at the doorstep of a school that is also protected as a Heritage Tree? Aesthetically, this is a majestic fig tree that is still in the midst of strangling out its host, an exotic Acacia tree. The trunk of the host is completely enveloped in the twisting roots of the F. virens, and the beautifully drooping foliage of the strangler is so dominant that the leaves of the host has been reduced to a just a small central patch.