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Hong Kong Vegetation 160 years ago
 
Hong Kong 1820
(picture from AllPosters.com)

Hinds R.B. & Bentham G. (1842) Remarks on the physical aspect, climate, and vegetation of Hong Kong, China. London Journal of Botany 1: 476-481.

[words in square brackets are added here to facilitate reading; only the part by Hinds on the vegetation is quoted here]

The island of Hong Kong is one of several at the entrance of the Canton river, all of similar aspect, character, and population; the former wild, dreary, bleak, and apparently extremely barren; the last, by turns, fishermen and pirates. Hong Kong is equally rugged with the other, and consists of several mountain masses thrown together, connected occasionally by ridges, and, between these, lie numerous vallies [valleys], more or less sheltered from the violence of the winds. The general appearance of all its parts is similar; but the easterly portions are bolder, the vegetation more sparing and stunted, the outlines more rounded, and the large bare masses of rocks unscreened by foliage. The western side is evidently preferable, as the vallies descend with less rapidity, and a certain quantity of soil is collected; vegetation thrives better, and is more varied; some stunted pines try to assume the importance of trees; and the shores bear no marks of the violence of the ocean. Water abounds every where, and each valley of the least pretensions, sends its stream to the cultivated grounds near the shore, where a portion is retained for irrigation, and the remainder is permitted to find its way to the sea. These streams continue to exist through all the seasons of the year, though they diminish greatly during the dry weather. After the rains many become small torrents, tumbling in haste over their rocky beds, and sometimes forming little cascades.

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