The only ancient Magnolia soulangeana found in the world, known as "plant panda", bloomed ahead of schedule in Wuhou Temple, Mian County, Hanzhong, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province during the Spring Festival. (Photos: CCTV)
The trunk of the plant is thicker than a washbasin. When it blooms, it has luxuriant branches that look like a cover, and the flowers are elegant and fragrant.
Experts used carbon-14 to conclude that the plant is more than 400 years old, which matched the epitaph in the temple, equivalent to the Ming Dynasty Wanli period.
It is said that the ancient people planted it in memory of Zhuge Liang, an important military strategist and inventor serving as the Prime Minister of the Shu Kingdom in the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-265).
The plant is usually full of flowers in March. The flowers are red when they first blossom, and become red and white in full bloom.
The flowers grow before the leaves and the buds grow on the tree for more than 10 months, experiencing summer, autumn and winter, then bloom in the next year— thus the term"pregnant for ten months."
The plant blossomed in mid-February this year consistent with the rising temperature after the beginning of spring.
Since it blossoms in early March every year, it is called the "woman flower".
Because of its scarcity, uniqueness, beauty, and age, it was identified as the "city flower" by the government of Hanzhong. (Compiled by Peng Temin)