What kind of flower is Bauhinia, the regional flower of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region?



Bauhinia, as the regional flower of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, must not be unfamiliar to everyone. But how much do you know about redbud? Where was it first discovered? With questions, a reporter from the Central News interviewed Dr. Zhan Qingqing of the South China Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

What kind of flower is Bauhinia?

For the friends in the south, Bauhinia is not unfamiliar, pink, white, peach, purple... Bauhinia flowers of different colors bloom all over the streets and alleys. In southern China, Bauhinia does not refer to just one kind of flower, but a general term for several flowering trees of the genus Bauhinia Linn., including B. acuminata var. candida, Bauhinia × blakeana, Sheep's hoof (B. purpurea) and so on.

"The Bauhinia we usually call the regional flower of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, is actually a safflower beetle." Zhan Qingqing introduced to the reporter, "The safflower is a natural hybrid of B. variegata and A. variegata. The petals are reddish-purple, with short stalks, oblanceolate, and one adaxial piece is dark purple from the middle to the base. There are 5 fertile stamens, 3 of which are longer. Its pollen cannot develop normally and cannot bear fruit. , can be propagated by cuttings."

Safflower, with large, purple-red flowers, can be used as a beautiful ornamental tree. It is one of the main garden trees in Guangzhou and is widely planted all over the world.

The picture shows Bauhinia × blakeana, source: "Encyclopedia of Ex situ Plants in China"

As the "children" of the safflower and Bauhinia, what is the difference between them? "Lamb's hoof, Bauhinia chinensis, and safflower hoof-hoof are common ornamental plants cultivated in southern my country, especially in Guangzhou, where they are often planted as street trees. These three plants are relatively similar and difficult to distinguish. The main ones are: Lamb's hoof. A. carapacea has 3 fertile stamens, narrow petals and long stalks; while Bauhinia japonica and A. safflower have 5 fertile stamens, wider petals and short stalks. The racemes of B. japonica and B. japonica are extremely shortened. , it can bear fruit after flowering; safflower racemes develop, sometimes compound into panicles, and usually do not bear fruit." Zhan Qingqing explained.

The picture shows B. purpurea, photo by Chen Shaoping

The picture shows Bauhinia variegata (B. variegata), photo by Chen Shaoping

Are southern bauhinia and northern bauhinia the same plant? The answer is no! Bauhinia and Bauhinia have only one word difference in their Chinese names, but they are two plants belonging to the same family and different genera.

Zhan Qingqing explained, "Bauhinia flowers in the south are generally referred to as safflower chinensis, which is a plant of the Fabaceae family, and the Latin name is Bauhinia × blakeana. The common redbud in the north, the Latin name is Cercis chinensis, is a legume Bauhinia plant. , the flowers are purple-red or pink, more than 2-10 in bunches, clustered on old branches and trunks, especially on the trunk, there are many bouquets, which are obviously different from the 5 large petals of safflower safflower."

The picture on the left is Bauhinia × blakeana, and the picture on the right is Bauhinia (Cercis chinensis). Source: "Encyclopedia of Ex situ Plants in China"

Bauhinia blooming in Hong Kong

Knowing that the Bauhinia flower in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is actually a safflower, let's take a look at its special relationship with Hong Kong?

The reporter checked the information and learned that when Hong Kong returned to the motherland in 1997, the bauhinia was designated as the regional flower of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and at the same time became a symbolic plant on the regional flag, which means that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the motherland will never be separated and united. To celebrate the return of Hong Kong, the central government donated a golden Bauhinia statue to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The 6-meter-high Bauhinia statue now stands on the artificial island in the new wing of the Convention and Exhibition Center, hence the name of the Golden Bauhinia Square. , it is known as the "bauhinia that blooms forever", which symbolizes the handover of Hong Kong's sovereignty and implies that Hong Kong will always be prosperous and prosperous.

In 1987, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region launched a collection of designs for the regional flag and regional emblem. According to Xinhua News Agency, the design of the regional flag and regional emblem of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has collected more than 7,000 works at home and abroad, and it was overwhelmingly displayed in the selection of the National Art Museum of China.

Xiao Hong, who won the highest award for the design of the regional flags of Hong Kong and Macau, recalled in "The Regional Flags of Hong Kong and Macau and the "China Century Clock" I designed", "After two years of After strict screening, the god of luck patronized me - my regional flag design won the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Regional Flag Design Excellence Award (the highest award). The regional flag is a red background against white bauhinia flowers, and red is the color of the national flag. , Bauhinia is the city flower of Hong Kong, representing Hong Kong, and each of the five petals has a five-star, which corresponds to the five-star on the national flag of the People's Republic of China."

Xiao Hong once talked about design inspiration in an interview with Dahe Daily, "Inspiration comes from roots. Roots, the vegetative organs of higher plants, are also metaphors for future generations. Roots are a nation that has been in the same blood for generations and is a person. A source of life that persists under any environmental conditions."

In fact, Bauhinia was first discovered in Hong Kong.

According to the journal article "Bauhinia japonica: The Symbolic Flower of the Soybean Seed Family", around 1880, a priest from Paris, France, discovered the safflower carapace in Steel Line Bay, Pokfulam, Hong Kong Island, and transplanted it to Pokfulam. Bethany Abbey in Lindau.

In 1905, the type specimen of safflower was collected from Hong Kong by British botanist Stephen Troyte Dunn (type specimen refers to the specimen used as evidence when a new species is published).

The picture shows safflower sheep's hoof beetle, picture source: "Encyclopedia of Ex situ Plants in China"

Seeing this, do you have a deeper understanding of Hong Kong Bauhinia? On the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, I wish Hong Kong to bloom like a redbud and move towards a better tomorrow!