Sweet Gum Woods in Tai Tong
The appearance of the countryside varies from season to season. In autumn, Tai Lam Country Park, Tai Tong, looks its best, as leaves of groves of Sweet Gum trees turn from green to yellow and finally to red because of the chlorophyll, carotene, anthocyanins respectively in the leaf cells. In autumn, the dry weather, low temperatures, and intense sunlight speed up the decomposition of chlorophyll and the production of anthocyanins in the leaf cells, causing the formation of red leaves. The Sweet Gum trees are not only a visual feast, but their three-lobed foliage also exdues a delicate fragrance of apples when rubbed in hands. Moreover, they are well-known for their medicinal uses – in traditional Chinese medicine, they can clear heat and eliminate toxins. For example, their infructescence, known as Lulutong, and resin, known as Beautiful Sweetgum resin, can be used to improve sleep. Don’t get too obsessed with the trees, though; the mountain trail also commands stunning vistas of Yuen Long Plain in the distance.