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  • Writer's pictureEu Jin Koh

Heritage Trees

Updated: Aug 19

Strolling through the Singapore Botanic Gardens, you may have come across large, majestic trees with informative signs that label them as a “Heritage Tree”. But what exactly is a Heritage Tree and how did this concept come about?

Heritage trees are large mature trees that have seen Singapore through her many years of governance and growth, becoming significant landmarks of our beloved Garden City. As Singapore grew with a slew of land development works that constantly peppered our island, some invariably involved the felling of trees. It quickly dawned on many that trees of significance across the island had to be afforded the appropriate protection to allow them to continue standing in the years to come.

The Heritage Tree Scheme was conceived from such concerns, and was officially launched on 23 September 2022. In conjunction with the Heritage Road Scheme, these 2 schemes allow for the conservation of large mature trees and the protection of entire rows of trees along roads respectively.

Heritage Road Arborist

Mandai Road, lined with mature rain trees

These schemes were a significant step forward in tree conservation, as the conservation of trees before this were mainly limited to those in the nature reserves and those in the Tree Conservation Areas, which are located in the central and eastern part of Singapore.

Tree Conservation Area Arborist Singapore

Map of tree conservation areas

Trees under this scheme are afforded enhanced protection, both judicially and physically. This includes installation of lightning protection systems on each specimen, which protect the trees from lightning strikes that may otherwise damage or kill it. Each tree also has a specially curated sign that showcases its unique features and a brief description of the tree’s significance.

The most recognizable Heritage tree in Singapore would be the Tembusu tree located in the Singapore Botanical Gardens, which appears on the back of Singapore’s $5 note. The $5 note was designated to have the theme “Garden City”, an integral part of our Nation’s identity. Mr Eng Siak Loy, the designer for the note, had selected this tree due to its ease of identification by both tourists and locals alike, making it an unmistakable landmark for visitors to gather in the gardens.

Tembusu Tree Arborist

Heritage Tree: Tembusu

Tembusu Tree Singapore

Look at the back of a 5 dollar note!

Know of a significant, mature tree that you would like to nominate as a Heritage Tree? Head right here to submit your nomination!


National Heritage Board, Singapore, accessed at:

National Parks Board, Singapore, accessed at:

National Library Board, Singapore, accessed at:

The Straits Times, Singapore, accessed at:

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