This post was edited by ttt222 at 2011-12-28 16:19|
Bordering on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the northwest and facing the Indo-Chinese Peninsula in the southeast, Yunnan is affected by southwest and southeast monsoons alternatively, and has tropical, subtropical, temperate and frigid zones, thus making it possible for plants of different species to grow and propagate. There are more than 15,000 species of higher plant, which makes up half of the total in China, and 8 genera of the most primeval seed plants, which amounts to 2/3 of the total in the world. Therefore, "the Kingdom of Plants” is worthy its name for Yunnan.
Tropical Rainforests in Xishuangbanna--an oasis in the desert zone of the Tropic of Cancer
Xishuangbanna is located in 21º8´-22º36´ north latitude, south of the Tropic of Cancer, a transition region from the Asian Continent to the Indo-Chinese Peninsula. About 90 percent of the mountainous regions in Xishuangbanna is below the altitude of 1,300 meters, and is affected alternatively by the circulation of the west wind from the subtropical zone in the south and the monsoon from the India Ocean through the Bay of Bengal, thus forming a tropical climate with high temperature, lots of rain and the alternation of dry and rainy seasons, which provide a favorable ecological environment for the growth and succession of multi-plants and the tropical rainforests.
Tropical Rain Forest
Xishuangbanna is miraculous in that, while such regions at the same latitude as in West Asia, Middle Asia and North Africa are almost all deserts, large areas of tropical rainforest are preserved here. In this land, which makes up only 1/500 that of China, grow about 5,000 species of seed plants and pteridophyte, and this accounts for 1/6 of the total in China and 1/3 in Yunnan among which 58 species are included in rare or endangered plants under state protection.
China Meranti--the “giant” among plants
In the tropical rainforests in Xishuangbanna grows the tallest arbor plant in China-China Meranti, which is the first-class state-protection plant. The China Meranti grows in river valleys with an altitude between 350 and 1,100 meters or in the tropical rainforests at the damp foot of mountains. The average height of the tree is above 60 meters with the highest being 80meters. It is, therefore, the “giant” of the forest just like a crane standing among chickens.
A Forest Made by One Tree--the biggest tree in China
In Tongbiguan of Yingjiang County, Yunnan Province there is a Chinese Banyan whose crown covers an area of 5.5 Chinese mu, and which has 108 new trunks developed from clinging roots growing down into the ground. It is the biggest tree of 300 years old in China. Growing in tropical forests, the Chinese Banyan is big and tall and needs more nutrients, and, therefore, lots of clinging roots grow out of the trunk and the branches to take in water and nutrients in the air. When the clinging roots grow down into the ground, the ecological wonder comes into being-“a forest made by one tree”.
Plank Buttresses Root--anomalous root system of plants
In the tropical forests in Xishuangbanna trees are usually big and tall with their roots growing into the surface layer of the ground only, therefore, plank buttresses come into being to support the stock. The biggest plank buttress is 5 meters high and extends 12 meters.
Old Stems Blossom and Bear Fruit--spring comes to the withered stems
Some plants in the tropical rainforests such as Brightred Mayodendron, Jackfruit and Many-veins Baccaurea do not blossom or bear fruits on the annual or biennial twigs but they do on the stems or branches and even on the lower parts of the stems.
Common Antiaris--the “killer plant”
Growing in the tropical rainforests is the 30-meter-tall upas with extremely poisonous latex, which kills instantly when man or animal eat it, thus called the “killer plant”. The local people paint the latex on arrowheads to kill wild animals. Upas, which can quicken heart rate and enlarge the amount of blood pumped by the heart, is a medical plant of good prospect.
Spiny Tree Fern--the live fossil plant
The Spiny Tree Fern, which is called the live fossil plant, is one of the most primeval plants existing on earth, and is under the first-class state protection. The Spiny Tree Fern can be used for food and medicine, can be made into exquisite handicrafts, and is of high ornamental value.
Southeast Dracaena--the plant with the longest life on earth
In Xishuangbanna grows a precious medical plant, the Southeast Dracaena, whose trunk is short and thick, bark is grayish with longitudinal cracks and leaves are luxuriant. When cut by a knife, it will “bleed”. The life span of the Southeast Dracaena can be over 6000 years. Therefore, it is the plant with the longest life on earth.
Chinese Yew--the most expensive medical plant on earth
In the National Nature Reserve in the northwest of Yunnan Province grows a rare plant-the Chinese Yew, and it is under the first-class state protection. According to research, in the roots, trunk, leaves and barks of the Chinese Yew exists the highest content of pacilitaxel, which is the most expensive cure for cancer and the price of it reaches 10 million USD every kg in the international market, so it is reguarded as the most expensive medical plant on earth.
Rhododendron Protistum Vav. Giganteum--the biggest azalea tree in the world
Rhododendron protistum Vav. giganteum, which is the biggest of the 850 known species of azalea, grows halfway up the west side of the Gaoligongshan Mountains at an altituce of 2,350-2,480 meters, and are in full bloom from January to March every year. In 1981, another Rhododendron protistum Vav. giganteum that is 25 meters tall with 3 meters in its lower trunk diameter was discovered in Yunnan. According to appraisal, the tree is 640 years old and is the biggest discovered so far in the world.
Three Kings of Tea Trees--the witnesses of “Yunnan is the sources of tea”
China is the home of tea trees, and the Chinese people started tea-culture first in the world. The origin of tea trees is in Xishuangbanna and Simao (Pu'er) Prefectures, south of Yunnan Province, where a complete chain of wild, transitional and cultivated old tea trees were discovered from 1953 to 1991, thus making this region a natural museum of the evolution of tea-culture. The king of wild tea trees is generally acknowledged in Bada of Menghai County, Xishuangbanna Prefecture, which is over 1,700 years old. The king of transitional tea trees, which is over 1,000 years old, is in Bangwai of Lancang County, Simao (Pu'er) Prefecture, and the 800-year-old king of cultivated tea trees is in the Nannuo Mountain, Menghai County. Throughout ages, tea has been Yunnan’s staple export. Tea, coffee and coco are the three main beverages in the world, of which the sale of tea is the largest, and the tea-drinking custom has spread over 160 countries and regions in the world.