Wildlife in China
The Giant Panda is China's most loved animal
China's natural world has been since ancient times a source of inspiration in the arts, literature, religion and mythology. Philosophers have preached the virtues of living in harmony with nature for centuries.
Unfortunately, the rapid economic development and rate of urbanization in China have led to increased deterioration of the environment and loss of habitat for many of the species endemic to China.
Wildlife in China: Animals in ChinaHere are some of the most notorious animals native to China. Some of them are in danger or vulnerable to extinction, and some have special significance in Chinese Culture. The links will bring you to more detail about the particular animal and its environment, as well as the places where we have been fortunate to appreciate some of them during our travels.
Wildlife in China: China PlantsIf the animal life diversity in China is great, its plant life is certainly profuse and one of the richest and most diverse in the world. Just about everything grows in China due to the wide range in temperatures from sub-zero frigid climate to hot, humid and tropical.
Instead of giving you figures and lots of names that probably don't mean much to you, here is a selection of some interesting facts about China's native plants and vegetation.
Some plants and flowers normally associated with China you are probably familiar with:
Bamboo, most Chinese have lucky bamboo plants in their homes right? Bamboo of course grows everywhere in the world but is thought to have originated in China. Bamboo has traditionally had many uses, in construction, as decoration and food for example.
Ginseng, which is quite popular for its medicinal qualities, the part that is used is the root.
Bonsai Trees? Bonsai trees are not really a "species" but actually an ancient art form of growing dwarf trees.
How about flowers? Flowers in China are appreciated beyond their beauty, some have special meanings:
The Peony is considered China's national flower, is treasured as the "color of the nation and the scent of heaven" and often associated with nobility and peace.
The Lotus flower has a special meaning in Buddhism, the Lord Buddha is often depicted sitting on a throne of Lotus. The Lotus means purity and is a symbol of spiritual growth.
Plum Blossoms have been a favourite subject of Chinese painters through the ages. Plum blossoms are a symbol of strength and resilience, as the plant braves the winter and blooms before any other plant, it is regarded as the symbol of rebirth and growth.
Here are some pictures of the above China plants and some more of China's native flowers. I bet you recognize some of these and may even have in your garden!
Here's a short trailer to the BBC's Wild China series, it features footage of a wild giant panda as it forages through dense bamboo forests feasting on frozen bamboo leaves.
Wildlife in China and the Giant Panda
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