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Yunnan - Land of the Southern Cloud (5)


By AndrewR


After an overnight stay in a very comfortable hotel, we had another full day of driving. We made an unscheduled stop to see rice being planted in paddy fields beside the road

Nearby grew rosa roxburghii

We crossed the Mekong river

Past towns full of high rise buildings

And through a tunnel some ten kilometres long (built in the last three years)

Finally, we arrived at Zhongdian after dark. In an effort to make this town a tourist resort, the Chinese have renamed it Shangri-La

We were now at a higher altitude but with better weather, and a new range of plants to be discovered. First was rhododendron yunnanense

I was very taken with daphne aurantiaca, but it is very rare in cultivation

Stellera chamaejame is also almost impossible to buy. It is difficult to propagate and does not transplant well

If you want blue, you could not do much better than iris bulleyana

We saw several small euphorbias. This one is euphorbia wallichii

And euphorbia jolkinii

Piptanthus nepalensis is a shrub occasionally encountered in a British garden

There were large swathes of rhododendron vernicosum growing at a lunch stop

To be continued ….

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love that daphne and isn't that an intense blue iris.
I love seeing plants growing in the wild.

17 Aug, 2017


Beautiful Iris & I liked the euphorbias.
A comfortable hotel & better weather must be very welcome too

17 Aug, 2017


GF - I think the comfortable hotel was laid on especially to make up for the previous 'primitive' homestay. The weather was much better from now on as well.

17 Aug, 2017


Marvellous blog ! I queried Primula Bullyana with Kew
Gardens Science Dept years ago, wondered if it was found
by Mr. Bulley the plant collector.
They sent a nice letter saying Bulleyana is a remote district
of China where the Primula grows.

That put the lid on the 'Fame at last' idea-Diane Bulley.

This must also apply to the Iris.

18 Aug, 2017


Diane - I don't know who your contact was in Kew, but I think primula bulleyana was named after Arthur Kilpin Bulley (1861 - 1942), a British cotton merchant and creator of the Ness Botanic Gardens

Even Kew describe this link:

Given that Bulley was sponsoring plant collectors in this area, it's probably a safe bet that iris bulleyana was named after him as well.

18 Aug, 2017


Well bless me. I really believed Bullyana is a district of
North west China. Although to be honest I never checked it on maps. Just saw the labelled plants at Kew.
I have copied all this out, and will do more research -
might be easier to tell my eldest son who has worked on family research for the Bulley family. Very clever on IT.

Although, not to pour cold water on the idea, our local
WEA chief has said that there is a lot of wrong information on Wikipaedia !
Be nice to know more about Arthur anyway.

18 Aug, 2017


Have passed this onto eldest son, with the degree.
Although I remember going to the Ness Gardens on an
Allotment Association coach trip about 25 years ago.
We were told the house was Arthur Bulley's home.
What a garden to have !

18 Aug, 2017


Andrew what wonderful experiences you are having!
Seems almost unbelievable that you can just come across all those beauties growing wild. Agree with SBG about the iris - really lovely.

18 Aug, 2017


Eldest son says he did do the research and Arthur Kilpin Bulley was no relation to our branch.
Wonderful holiday , thank you for sharing.

19 Aug, 2017


Really enjoying your epic journey Andrew.....

20 Aug, 2017


An epic journey, glad the weather was better at higher altitude allowing you see those specie plants.

20 Aug, 2017


me again ,,,,,who was roxburghii ?

23 Aug, 2017


Dianne, William Roxburgh , Scottish physician and botanist who was director of the botanical garden of Calcutta.

23 Aug, 2017


Thank you GF what a marvellous job he must have had !
Did some plant collecting too, he must have taken soil samples with each plant to grow his finds on at the Botanical Garden. The soil must have varied in every region he visited.

24 Aug, 2017


Diane - not all plants are named after the men who collected them. Some would be named after those who sponsored the expedition - Bulley is an example.

24 Aug, 2017


Another very interesting blog, I'm not liking the look of their modern day Shangri-La, though its only seen in the dark, one of my all time favourite movies Andrew and I quite like the thought of a magical, peaceful place hidden away somewhere, lol....

12 Sep, 2017


Thank you for that gem of information Andrew.

14 Sep, 2017

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