Nanzhao county in south Nanyang, Henan province held its first Magnolia Festival on March 22, hoping to give a boost to the local industry.
With a history of planting magnolia trees that can be traced back 2,000 years, Nanzhao county currently grows as many as 22 different species of magnolia, accounting for half of the 44 species found in China and one fourth of the world's 88, in its 500-year-old flora reserve. Statistics show that there are 115,000 people in Nanzhao currently working for the magnolia industry, with 45 related businesses, 186 cooperatives and 65 major magnolia-planting village bases throughout the county.
A magnolia garden in Nanzhao integrates sightseeing and leisure. [Photo by Zhang Zhan, Sui Gang, Du Feng, Zhou Hu/Nanyang Daily]
Nanzhao has been named the "hometown of magnolia in China" by the State Forestry Administration due to the quality of the county's magnolias, which have been traded throughout the country in such cities as Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin. The magnolia trees planted at the Bird's Nest for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the magnolia in front of Zhongnanhai, Beijing's leadership compound, were all grown in Nanzhao.
|Magnolia flowers bloom in Nanzhao's magnolia garden. [Photo/dahe.cn]|
Now aiming to progress forward, the Nanzhao government has taken various measures, including financial support for magnolia businesses cultivating top level trees and introducing rare species. Magnolia experts have also been hired to form a consulting group and provide technical guidance for tree surgery, grafting and cultivation.
Nanzhao currently has magnolia tree cultivation bases covering an area of 282,000 mu (18,800 hectares), with a total production value of 1.89 billion yuan ($274 million).
Nanzhao county in Nanyang, Henan province holds its first Magnolia Festival on March 22. [Photo/dahe.cn]