Korea’s Fascinating Diversity (Flora and Fauna)

FX777222999 By FX777222999, 27th Mar 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/26ve3sju/
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Asia>South Korea>Seoul & Around

The different species of flora and fauna found in Korea's geographical landmark thrives even at present times..

Example, unusual tree besides the gingko, which is seen throughout the peninsula, is the paulownia tree. Its large leaves and vivid purple flowers make it attractive and distinctive. As the wood is very light, it was traditionally popular for ship building. It was also used by Korean carpenter for chests and coffins, as the light made them easy to carry.

Korea’s Fascinating Diversity (Flora and Fauna)

The largest and the oldest fruit bearing tree in the world is located in Korea, known as the gingko tree. It was planted in the 10th century by a Shilla prince on the temple grounds of Yongmunsa Temple. Its trunk circumference is 54 feet and its height is 175 feet.

Another unusual tree besides the gingko, which is seen throughout the peninsula, is the paulownia tree. Its large leaves and vivid purple flowers make it attractive and distinctive. As the wood is very light, it was traditionally popular for ship building. It was also used by Korean carpenter for chests and coffins, as the light made them easy to carry.

The national flower of the Republic of Korea is a species of the hibiscus called the Rose of Sharon. Koreans call the blossoms “everlasting flowers” or mugunghwa as the bush readily grows again when cut down. It became a symbol of Korea, reflecting the historic tragedies of the nation often being cut down by larger nations but still surviving.

Koreans have had a historical love affair with the lotus. Poets say these are the blossoms that speak and appear as the “king’s maidens bathing.” Buddhists regard the lotus as a symbol of the pure land in a heaven called Nirvana. The roots are edible and the seeds provide a wonderful tonic.

The crepe myrtle is an unusual tree as it appears to have no bark. It is often seen at temples, shrines and tomb sites. A popular legend about this tree describes a sad love story of a prince and the girl he was to marry. From the girl’s grave this tree grew, which would blossom for 100 days each summer. Hence, the Korean name fro the crepe myrtle means “one hundred days red flower.”

In the early fall, wild chrysanthemums are seen throughout the countryside. All along the highways of Korea, cosmos have been recently planted. With a variety of colorful hues they beautifully decorate the roadways.

Koreans have found that most plants and flowers have medicinal or edible value. Probably the most mysterious plant of Asia and the most interesting of the herb medicines is the ginseng plant. As an “elixir of life,” the ginseng root is Korea’s oldest export products. Korean ginseng has been the most famous throughout the world for almost 2,000 years. The production of commercial ginseng is now a government monopoly. Today ginseng tea is well known in the western world.

Vegetables as well as flowers can be grown almost during the entire year because of vinyl hot houses. Tomatoes, melons, mushrooms and strawberries are now grown over an extended season. House lants can be purchased during the winter months even with heavy snow on the ground.

Animals found on the peninsula are the boar, bear, wildcat, wolf, hare, weasel, badger, tiger and leopard, though now some of these animals are very rare and may be found only in the high mountains. Even though now there is a ban on hunting in most regions of the peninsula, poachers continues to hunt these animals as they are highly valued for medicinal use by Asian herb doctors. Goats are raised for their medicinal value rather than for meat or milk. The native horse that is predominantly found on Chejudo, is small but strong. The Korean ox is one of the most common domestic animals and is useful for pulling carts and plowing the fields. In the old days an ox on the farm was extremely valuable but now gasoline cultivators are frequently seen. Farms for beef cattle have developed on the islands of Chejudo and Ullungdo. Dairy products are now much more popular in the Korean diet as well as poultry.

A wide variety of water animals, shellfish and fish in the oceans surrounding the peninsula have stimulated a vigorous fishing industry. Freshwater fishing as a sport is relatively undeveloped due to shallow rivers and few lakes. Snakes of various kinds are found and hunted for medicinal use, but few are venomous. The turtle is a symbol of longevity and has been depicted profusely in art and literature over the centuries.

Two hundred species of butterflies have been identified. Recently honey bees have made honey production an important source of income. Over 50 species of animals, birds and insects have been designated as natural resources or endangered species and are protected.

The flora and fauna of Korea have inspired Korean artisans over the centuries. Their paintings, ceramics, embroidery, sculptures and wood carvings have reflected their close affinity to their natural environment. The tiger, turtle, deer, crane and carp along with the lotus, pine, bamboo, and plum are some of the more popular symbols used in traditional Korean art. Some folk art symbols are the figment of the people’s imagination such as the dragon, hactae, and the fungus of immortality called pulloch’o.

The Korean tiger once was quite prevalent on the peninsula. Folk stories and art frequently used this ferocious animal as a subject. In one respect the tiger became a spirit to be worshipped, but was also a creature to be feared.

Recently, the Korean tiger came to the forefront as an international symbol peace of and cooperation between nations. This cute and humorous folk tiger was chosen as the official mascot of the 1988 Olympics. With the name of Hodori the Korean folk tiger has emerged into the limelight of the sport’s world.

Tags

Animals, Dwellings, Fauna, Flora, Flowers, Forests, Garden, Korea, Modernization, Peole, Population, Walls, Wildlife

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