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Showing posts with label Flora. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flora. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Singing Tree in Zhongshan

A type of musical performance I especially appreciate at a park . . .

tree that looks like it is singing
At the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park in Zhongshan, China

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Names and Views of the Changjiang Reservoir in Zhongshan, China

After passing by some flowers on a recent foggy day in Zhongshan, I found a good view of the dam at the Changjiang Reservoir (长江水库).

dam at the Changjiang Reservoir in Zhongshan, China


Changjiang is the name of a famous river. The name may not ring any bells, and that's probably because the river is typically named the Yangtze River (扬子江) in English. The short story about the river's English name is it is based on just one of its sections. Using China's current system for romanizing Chinese words, that section would instead now be named the Yangzi River.

But the Yangtze River never comes close to Zhongshan, and there's more to the story about how the Changjiang Reservoir got its name:
Why is the reservoir named Changjiang (the Yangzi River) although it has nothing to do with the mother river - Changjiang. According to a legend, about 300 years ago, a Mr. Long and his nephew came from their hometown Jiangxi province to farm in this wildness. They named the place they resided "Changgang" (literally, it means a [series] of hills) because on their way from Jiangxi to Zhongshan, they walked [past] one hill after another. To commemorate their hometown Jiangxi, they changed "Changgang" to "Changjiang". (In some Chinese dialects, Gang is the [homophone] of Jiang.)
Despite the story, journalist Jiang Shangyu (江上雨) doesn't think the name lives up to the reservoir's splendor (link in Chinese with many photos of the reservoir), and their argument was published in the Southern Daily newspaper (link in Chinese without many photos). The suggestion was to change the name to Qingling Lake (庆龄湖) in honor of Soong Ching-ling (宋庆龄), a prominent past political figure in China and the third wife of Sun Yat-sen — the "founding father of the Republic of China". In China, the name Sun Zhongshan is commonly used for Sun Yat-sen, and that's where the city of Zhongshan gets its name.

Apparently Jiang's suggestion had an impact. A few signs near the reservoir display the Qingling Lake name.

sign for Qingling Lake (庆龄湖) in Zhongshan, China


However, it doesn't appear to be the official name. According to online maps the name remains the Changjiang Reservoir. And that is the only name used on a Zhongshan government website (example in Chinese).

The body of water is rather large and surrounded by much greenery. Unfortunately, at least where and when I arrived all I could find with views that was open to the public was a small area in front of the Scenic Holiday Hotel. But I could at least spot an island through the fog from one vantage point.

foggy view at the Changjiang Reservoir (长江水库) in Zhongshan, China


So I don't have much to share in terms of photos, though I am glad I made it there. And I will conclude with one of the more picturesque trees I came across at the reservoir, lake, or whatever you'd like to call it.

tree at the Changjiang Reservoir (长江水库) in Zhongshan, China

Monday, January 7, 2019

Flowers in Zhongshan

Last year I posted a photo of several red silk-cotton flowers I saw on the ground in Jiangmen. I identified them as coming from the Bombax ceiba tree, which is known by a variety names. Later I shared photos of the flowers being collected at a park and drying outside at two nearby locations. In both cases, the flowers may have been destined to become an ingredient in Five-Flowers tea.

Several days ago in Zhongshan I noticed a different type of flower. I don't plan to write as much about them as I did about the red silk-cotton flowers, though I do hope to do a short piece on the near Changjiang Reservoir. But since the flowers caught my eye, I will take this opportunity to add to the flowers-in-Guangdong theme.

flowers near the Changjiang Reservoir in Zhongshan, China

Friday, March 23, 2018

Flowers and Rinds on a Park Bench in Jiangmen

Yesterday I saw red silk-cotton tree flowers and tangerine peels drying at two neighboring places. Today as I passed through a park I noticed the two items sitting out together.

Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, kapot) flowers and tangerine peel on a park bench


Nearby, I noticed a couple more flowers on the ground.

Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, kapot) flowers on a walkway


I picked one up and then saw something fall to the ground with a thud. I picked up this fresh red silk-cotton flower as well.

Shortly after that, I saw another flower off to the side.

Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, kapot) flower on the ground


And now I had three hefty flowers in my hand.

A passing duck did not display any similar interest in the flowers as it swam by — not so surprising since ducks don't drink five flower tea.

duck swimming in a lake past Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, kapot) flowers


Looking up, it was easy to spot the two trees that had produced the growing number of flowers I noticed on the ground.

flowers in a Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, kapot) tree


As is often the case, I wouldn't have noticed the flowers high up in the otherwise barren trees if it hadn't been for the flowers on the ground, especially since the trees were intermixed with leafy trees of other types.

Although I was now the proud possessor of three fine flowers, I realized I probably wouldn't be able to put them to good use, such as five flower tea.

So soon there were three more flowers on the bench.

tangerine pee with more red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, kapot) flowers on a park bench

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sun Drying Flowers & Peels in Jiangmen

Yesterday shortly after going outside in Jiangmen, I saw more red silk-cotton flowers. These, though, were being dried in the sun.

Bombax ceiba (red silk-cotton, kapok) flowers drying on a chair


Around the corner from there, more red silk-cotton flowers were drying.

Bombax ceiba (red silk-cotton, kapok) flowers drying on the ground


Possibly some people are planning to use them to make herbal tea. The flowers are also used for soup and congee.

Next door, another item was sun drying.

tangerine peels sun drying on the ground

Xinhui, a nearby district in Jiangmen, is known for its dried tangerine peel, used in a variety of foods, soups, and teas. So it wasn't surprising to see these tangerine peels on the ground, even outside a mobile phone repair shop.

I saw these three examples of drying during a brief outing which didn't cover a lot of ground. Undoubtedly, more could have found on that sunny day in Jiangmen.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Bountiful Bombax Ceiba Flowers

Bombax ceiba (Red Silk-Cotton, Red Cotton, Kapok, 木棉) flower on the ground


The previous post included a single photo of flowers I saw in Jiangmen. Around this time of year I have come across these flowers before, mostly in southern China. I took the above photo almost exactly one year ago elsewhere in Guangdong province at the Guangzhou Orchid Garden. Although the flower isn't an orchid, Guangzhou is a particularly fitting setting since this is the city's official flower.

The scientific name for the tree which produces the flower is Bombax ceiba. The tree is also known by a variety of other names in English such as red silk-cotton and kapok. The name "kapok" is used for some other trees as well, such as Cochlospermum gillivraei and the more closely related Ceiba pentandra, also known as the white silk-cotton tree. So it may be better to avoid using the name. At least in this region, the typical Chinese name is 木棉 (mùmián), which literally translates as "cotton tree".

Whatever you want to call the tree, I welcome seeing the large deeply-colored flowers. And they are one of the key ingredients for Five Flowers Tea (五花茶 - wǔhuāchá) — a traditional herbal tea common in Guangdong and Hong Kong which I drink simply because I enjoy its strong bitter flavor (no sugar, please).

I didn't mention any of these details before because I wanted the earlier photo to stand alone. But viewing the photo while sipping some Five Flowers Tea would probably work fine.