China's Flora Tour: The noble gentleman in the kingdom of flowers
Updated 18:34, 29-Aug-2019
By Zhao Ying

Not every plant endemic to tropical regions in Africa can put up with the scorching heat, and the natal lily is one of the few that can't. The delicate plant, like a pampered noble, can bear neither heat nor cold. It loves cool and humid environments and avoids any direct sunshine, growing under trees instead.

The plant's broad and thick leaves can act as dust collectors, absorbing dust and harmful gases in the air. When the number of leaves is more than 12, it means the plant is about to flower. The flowering period often lasts between 30 to 50 days and takes place at any time of the year. The natal lily is long-lasting and can live for decades.

Natal lily. /VCG Photo

Natal lily. /VCG Photo

The natal lily has been widely planted in European countries since the 1820s. It was cultivated in Japan in 1854 and was then introduced from Japan to northwest China's Jilin Province in 1932. The population of natal lilies in Jilin started to grow significantly in the early 1980s. In Changchun city alone, 100,000 households out of every 500,000 had natal lily plants. At that time, a pot of natal lilies could fetch a price of 100,000 yuan, making it a lucrative business for some people.

People hail the natal lily as the gentleman in the kingdom of flowers and a symbol of nobility. Today, it is the city flower of Changchun. The city is home to the largest grower of natal lilies in China, occupying a land area of 260 hectares. The flower has traveled a long way from hot southern Africa to frigid northwestern China. It quickly adapts to the new environment and shows its charm.

China's Flora Tour

From the wetlands along the coast to the dense rainforests hidden in the southwest, China boasts an array of plant species. In this series, we will go on a tour to learn about some of the most representative flora in different provinces and see how they live in harmony with the local geography and climate.

Read More:

China's Flora Tour: Jilin-Lady's slipper orchids

China's Flora Tour: Jilin-The pale flower that gleams in dark

China's Flora Tour: Jilin-Wisdom to survive the bitter cold

(Cover photo via VCG, designed by CGTN's Yin Yating.)

(Video filmed by CGTN's Shen Hui, edited by CGTN's Zhao Ying)

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at