The City Flower and the City Tree

Updated: 2007-04-11 10:46

Camellia, a plant of the camellia family, is a small evergreen tree with 73 different species. It has a long florescence, pollution resistant, and easy to grow. It has bright blossoms of pale red, purplish red, white, or multicolored. Its petals may have a variety of patterns. It has been cultivated in the area of Chongqing for more than 2,000 years. Su Shi (1037--1101), a famous poet of the Song Dynasty, wrote some famous lines in praise of camellia: “With all the pollen taken by the humming bees, / the flowers remain fragrant, sweet as honey.” In Zhiziqiao, Shigang, Banan District, there is still an ancient camellia tree of 400 years old. Camellia can be found everywhere in Chongqing, in parks, scenic spots, in front of the houses, on balconies of tall buildings. Camellia was officially made the city flower of Chongqing in 1986.

Ficus lacor is a tree with deciduous leaves, of banyan genus of the mulberry family. With its deep roots, strong trunk, and thriving branches and leaves, it has great vitality, grows fast, and enjoys a long life. The tree can grow on thin soil in hot, damp climate, and is pollution resisting. It can even grow well on high cliffs. There are many places in Chongqing that are named “huangjue” or, as the local people pronounce it, “huangguo”, after the tree. An ancient book Shui Jing Zhu (A Record of Rivers) of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386—534 A. D.), noted, “the water [of the Yangtze] then goes east through the Huangjue Gorge [known as Tongluo Gorge today].” And in the Tu Jing (A Book of Pictures) of the Song Dynasty (960--1279) there is the description “At the foot of Tushan Mountain, there are huangjue [ficus lacor] trees; and below the trees there is the Huangjue Ferry Crossing”. In Chongqing today, there are quite a number of places named after the tree: Huangjueya, Huangjueping, for instance. The ficus lacor was officially made the city tree of Chongqing in 1986.

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