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Exotic Tree Not Dead But Shedding Leaves

PETALING JAYA – The RM180,000 exotic Brazilian tree in Kuala Terengganu is not dead as reported, but is very much alive.

The Brazilian silk floss tree, or Ceiba chodatii, at the new township in Kuala Nerus is merely shedding leaves in a transition period after it was moved from the nursery to its new location.

Sheby Global Nursery director Mohd Nasir Md Amin said the falling of leaves is a typical process this species goes through.

“There is really nothing wrong with the tree. Maybe the reporter (of a Malay daily) who wrote that it died only looked at the tree from afar.

“New shoots are growing. Give it around four to five months and it will be back to normal.

“One of the factors that causes the leaves to fall is the hot weather.

“The tree’s genetics are like that,” he said when contacted, adding that it was similar to rubber trees which shed their leaves during a hot and dry spell.

Sheby Global Nursery has been tasked by the main contractor of the township project to look after the Brazilian silk tree and the landscaping of the new township.

Mohd Nasir stressed that there was no problem for the tree to survive in Malaysia.

A source close to the project said they would not dismiss the possibility of sabotage as everything had been “going on well” before the tree started shedding leaves.

The Brazilian silk floss tree, which has a bottle-shaped trunk, was chosen by the project’s contractor and planted in December last year at one of the entry points of the project located in Kuala Nerus, about 15km from Kuala Tereng­ganu.

It was reported in a local Malay daily yesterday that the tree was dead, five months after it was first planted.

State Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Energy and Green Technology committee chairman Rosli Othman, who was quoted by the daily as saying that the tree could have died due to weather and soil incompatibility, clarified yesterday that the tree was only going through a leaf abscission process.

He apologised for his previous statement.

Earlier this year, critics had alleged that the 3.5m tree was a waste of funds.

It was later clarified that it was a contribution from the project contractor. – The Star Online