BIODIVERSITY OF CHINESE ORNAMENTALS
China was dubbed as the Mother of Gardens by gardener and botanist Ernest Henry Wilson who collected and shipped about 2000 species of plants from Asia to Europe and North America. Many ornamentals in western countries originated from China. This paper presents the biodiversity of native Chinese ornamental plants at ecosystem, species and genetic levels, focusing on species and genetic resources with aesthetic potentials, based on literature studies and authors participatory investigations. The latest statistics reported 31,362 vascular species (taxa) occurring in China, of which about 6000 species are with gardening values. The diversified ornamental plants become important components of different ecosystems. As the dominant species, some ornamental plants established the plant communities in forests and grasslands, which made the landscapes more colourful and beautiful. Famous representatives were introduced including Camellia, Rhododendron, Rosa, Lilium, Chrysanthemum, Cymbidium and others. Lots of species are with multiple uses in addition to aesthetic values, like medicinal, edible, agricultural or daily life uses. The relationship between biodiversity and cultural diversity of ornamental plants is discussed. Biodiversity of Paeonia, mei flower, Chrysanthemum, sweet osmanthus, Chinese roses and many flowers endowed special meanings to traditional Chinese culture, which enriched cultural diversity. On the other hand, the traditional Chinese culture affected the diversity of ornamental plants. Some potential ornamental plants but underutilized or neglected, including Musella lasiocarpa (Musaceae), Lycoris (Amaryllidaceae), and Leucocasia gigantean (Araceae), are presented. The strategies for conservation and development of Chinese ornamental plants are proposed.
Chunlin Long, , Yanan Ni, , Xinbo Zhang, , Tong Xin, and Bo Long, (2015). BIODIVERSITY OF CHINESE ORNAMENTALS. Acta Hortic. 1087, 209-220
biological diversity, conservation strategies, cultural diversity, Leucocasia gigantea, Lycoris, Mother of Gardens, Musella lasiocarpa