Guizhou: a paradise for wild plants


Guizhou: a paradise for wild plants

by Live in Guizhou

PUBLISHED Nov 11, 2021 • 4MIN READ

The warm climate, complex and varied landform, abundant water and heat conditions and numerous rivers in Guizhou have fostered extensive wildlife, and made Guizhou a genuine “kingdom of flora and fauna”. Specifically, there are 35 species of wild animals under China’s first-class state protection and 161 species under second-class state protection, and there are 18 species of wild plants under first-class state protection and 61 species under second-class state protection. Thanks to the ecological preservation, some species of wildlife are increasing rapidly in population, such as macaques and golden pheasants, while new species are being discovered in the meantime.

Alsophila spinulosa

Around 180 million years ago, alsophila spinulosa used to be the most abundant plant species on the Earth, as one of the two hallmarks of the “Age of the Reptiles” together with dinosaurs. However, only few alsophila spinulosa survived the prolonged geological transformation of the Earth. As a result, the alsophila spinulosa is honored as the “king of ferns”, the “living fossil of paleontology” for scientific research, and the “last life form of the Jurassic Period”. The alsophila spinulosa is extremely precious, and has been listed as an endangered plant under first-class protection by a number of countries. Chishui in Guizhou Province, as one of the largest-scale and well-preserved sites for alsophila spinulosa in the world, is known as the “Jurassic Park in China”.

Cathay silver fir 

Cathay silver fir, or cathaya argyrophylla, is a rare species native in China. It is under first-class state protection in China, and one of the rare and endangered plant species in the world. It grows in some mountainous areas in regions with an elevation of 940-1,870 meters, such as in broad-leaved forests and on mountain ridges. The Dashahe Provincial Nature Reserve, located in Daozhen Gelao and Miao Autonomous County in Guizhou, is a place with relatively extensive coverage of living Cathay silver firs. Currently, it is home to several thousand natural Cathay silver fir trees, and received the great honor as the “Land of Cathay Silver Firs in China” in 2014.

 Chinese yew

Chinese yew, or taxus chinensis, is a plant species under first-class state protection in China, and is commonly known as a rare natural plant species with anticancer functions. It has a history of 2.5 million years on earth. Chinese yew grows slowly with poor regeneration ability in natural conditions. Currently, the biggest Chinese yew in Asia grows in Kelou Village, Cengong County in Guizhou, and is nearly 2,000 years old. In Liupanshui City in Guizhou, there are more than 100,000 wild Chinese yew trees. In June 2013, the China Wild Plant Conservation Association officially recognized Liupanshui City as the “Land of Chinese Yew in China”.

Guizhou sago palm

Guizhou sago palm, or cycas revolute, is a plant species under first-class state protection in China. From academic perspectives, it has important scientific value in studying the origin and evolution of plants, and the geographical and paleoclimate transformation in Guizhou, and even has irreplaceable significance as rare and ancient species genes. It originates from the Paleozoic Era till the Quaternary Ice Age. Most sago palm species died out one after another in the freezing glacial climate, and only few that grew under “shelter” survived. Therefore, sago palm is renowned as the “living fossil plant”. Guizhou sago palm grows in very special environment with narrow range of distribution, only in Wangmo, Ceheng, Luodian and some other places in Guizhou.

The dove tree

The dove tree, or davidia involucrata, is a precious plant under first-class state protection in China. It blossoms in late spring and early summer, with varied colors from blooming to fading. Flowers on the tree come out one after another with radiant splendor, making the dove tree be praised as “a tree with amazing blossom”. It is renowned as the “living fossil plant”, and named by the botanists as the “Chinese dove tree” because the shape of its blossom is the very image of flying white doves spreading the wings. Nayong County in Guizhou, with nearly a million dove trees growing here, is the place with the largest natural distribution area and the richest resources of dove trees in the world, and is called as the “Land of Dove Blossom”.

 Paphiopedilum emersonii

Paphiopedilum emersonii is a plant under first-class state protection in China, growing on cliffs in the sparsely populated core zone of Maolan Nature Reserve, Guizhou. It has three petals in pure white, and an inflated pouch-like labellum. The labellum looks like a slipper in shape and the flower is also called “slipper orchid” as a result. The flower, big in size and bright in color with a long blooming season, has high ornamental value. Relevant materials show that wild paphiopedilum emersonii is very rare in the world at present, and therefore, is admired as the “giant panda of flowers”.

Oreocharis esquirolii

 Oreocharis esquirolii belongs to the family of Gesneriaceae under first-class state protection in China. It has a short rhizome, blooms in August, and ripens in September and October. It is distributed in the Longtou Mountain Nature Reserve in Zhenfeng County, Guizhou Province, growing in upland shrubs or underbrush. It is of great scientific significance for research on the systematic evolution of Gesneriaceae, and it also adds ornamental value for your garden and the avenue.