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Browsing: 154 times print

Date:2018-06-06
Bracket:2018 NCYU News
Department:ncyu

The yellow flowers of Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata are in full bloom. NCYU Reveals the Yellow Beauty of Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata Hiding in the Canopy – The Only Yellow Flower Species and Epiphyte Rhododendron Native to Taiwan
  On the island of Taiwan, there is a species of Rhododendron native to Taiwan that cannot be spotted on the land, and only exists in the coniferous and broad-leaved forests at an altitude of 1,000 m during June each year. You may see it among the branches and leaves of the canopy, where it usually clings to branches or trunks in the form of splendid blossoms. It may also form a yellow carpet under the trees with fallen petals. The mysterious plant of Rhododendron, endemic to Taiwan, is dubbed “Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata.”

  Taiwan is located where both terrestrial Rhododendron and epiphyte Rhododendron exist in East Asia. The constantly changing climates and complicated geography make the island home to 17 species of native Rhododendron plants, among which 12 are endemic. Of these 12 endemic Rhododendron species, Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata marks the only yellow flower species and epiphyte, native Rhododendron in Taiwan. Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata is an epiphyte evergreen shrub belonging to the genus Rhododendron of Ericaceae family. Renowned for its yellow flowers, it has a flowering period from May to July. It grows in the coniferous and broad-leaved forests from mid to high elevations, attached to the tops or branch forks of big trees. Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata makes its appearance mainly in such areas as Taipingshan in Yilan County, Taman Mountain in Taoyuan City, Yuanyang Lake in Hsinchu County, Xiluandashan in Nantou County, Alishan in Chiayi County, Dalubaling Pond in Kaohsiung City, Wutou Shan in Pingtung County, and Ruisui Forest Trail in Hualien County. It is regarded as one of the landmark plants in the fog forest zone of Taiwan since it only exists in the mountains at an altitude of around 1,400 to 2,400 m on the main island of Taiwan, which is considered the northernmost region home to epiphyte Rhododendron in the East Indies in terms of the world’s phytogeography. In the 2017 edition of The Red List of Vascular Plants of Taiwan, Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata was described as “near threatened.” All these bear witness to the significance of its existence in Taiwan, where it is a critical plant resource cherished as a national treasure.

  Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata comes into bloom and produces lots of seeds each year. Despite a general lack of technology to cultivate seedlings with seeds, Sun-Link-Sea Recreation Co., Ltd. uncovered the values and irreplaceability of the plant resource and initiated discussions with the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, National Chiayi University, on the possibility of cultivating Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata in 2017. According to Sun-Link-Sea, a private enterprise as they are, they are driven by a sense of mission to fulfill their social responsibility by conserving the resources in Taiwan, hoping to sustainably preserve this unique plant resource and make it something all Taiwanese can be proud of forever.

  Thanks to efforts from the team of Lin Rui-Jin, assistant professor of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, NCYU, the symbiotic microorganisms that can be symbiotic with Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata and can enhance the ability to resist adversity have been selected. To showcase the results of research and development and allow the public to behold the one and only yellow flower species and epiphyte Rhododendron native to Taiwan, “Taiwan’s Native Rhododendron Conservation and Restoration Symposium and Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata Exhibition” was organized at Sun-Link-Sea Forest and Nature Resort on June 2nd. The event aimed to raise public awareness of the importance to conserve and restore the precious resource of Rhododendron native to Taiwan.

  By means of the symbiotic bacteria of Rhododendron, Assistant Prof. Lin successfully cultivated the seedlings of Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata, another breakthrough following the cultivation of seedlings of Rhododendron kanehirae and Rhododendron morii Hayata. Their long-term commitment to research and development has proven that NCYU has obtained fruitful results in developing the techniques of cultivating the seedlings of Rhododendron native to Taiwan. They hoped that, with continued support on the part of the authorities concerned, the Taiwan’s endemic plants can remain in splendid existence on the beautiful island of Formosa, and all of us can learn of these marvelous plant resources of Taiwan, and thus cherish the land on which we live.
“Taiwan’s Native Rhododendron Conservation and Restoration Symposium and Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata Exhibition” was held at Sun-Link-Sea Forest and Nature Resort, home to Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata. Visitors stopped to take photos of the blooming Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata. The seedlings of Rhododendron kawakamii Hayata have been successfully cultivated.
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