|Workers arrange flowers at a butterfly orchid plantation in Zhangzhou, Fujian province. [Wang Chao / China Daily]|
Fujian city luxuriates in the beauty and riches of its floral industry
Whether by good fortune or good management, the city of Zhangzhou seems to have realized that flowers, like eggs, should not all be put into one basket.
Zhangzhou, in Fujian province, is a center for flower nurseries, one of the most cultivated plants being the daffodil. What tulip fields are to the Netherlands and lavender meadows are to Provence in southern France, hectare after hectare of daffodils are to Zhangzhou. That means not only land covered in carpets of speckled white and yellow, but the soft fragrance that they give off mingled with the sweet smell of money.
For flowers and big money are very old acquaintances, evidence for that being tulipomania, a surge in tulip prices in the Netherlands in the 1600s that gave the world what is widely regarded as the world's first recorded speculative bubble, and subsequent crash.
But Zhanghou's market for daffodils and other flowers looks to be much more firmly rooted. While the daffodil is the floral standard bearer for the city, which styles itself as "the Southeastern capital of flowers", the city's fortunes ride on other flowers, too.
Underlining the importance of the floral economy, the city even has a flower office. At the end of last year, the local government said, 11,600 hectares of land in the city were dedicated to growing flowers and plants, bringing in revenue of 7.63 billion yuan ($1.23 billion). Export revenue was worth $55 million.
The daffodil, which also labors under the name narcissus, generates revenue of 100 million yuan a year and an additional 400 million yuan for packaging, logistics and fertilizers, the flower office said.
With plenty of rain and an average annual temperature of 21 C, Zhangzhou is a natural greenhouse for a huge variety of flowers. More than 2,000 species are said to grow in the city, the most well-known apart from daffodils being camellias, orchids, and crab-apple flowers.
Some of the most important counties specialize in different flowers: Zhangpu in butterfly orchids and miniature trees, Nanjing in traditional Chinese orchids and Longhai in daffodils.
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