Wednesday, December 20, 2006

深山含笑 - 冬日山中的白衣仙子 Maud's Michelia

深山含笑 - 冬日山中的白衣仙子

本港在冬日開放的野生花卉中,要選出最美麗的,深山含笑(Michelia maudiae,又稱莫氏含笑)肯定是其中一種。常綠的深山含笑,屬於本地稀有的樹木品種,在境內只在三處地方有發現的紀錄。每年的一月期間,整棵樹都會被大而雪白的花朵所覆蓋,中心鮮黃色的花藥,配以閃亮的深綠樹葉作背景,的確是一幅絕美的圖畫。 含笑屬的深山含笑,與園藝栽種的荷花玉蘭、紫玉蘭等是近親,同屬木蘭科的植物,是香港的特有品種,1900年在香港首次被發現。發現這個新品種的,是當時任職植物及林務署的S. T. Dunn,並以他妻子的名字莫氏(Maud)來命名。深山含笑是根據香港法例第96章《林務規例》受保護的品種。

自從Derek Kamp在他1985年出版的著名作品 "12 Hong Kong Walks" 中,詳述了深山含笑被發現時的生長地點後,不少植物愛好者都已曾慕名前往觀賞過這些美麗的樹木。書中是這樣描述的:「當滿樹冠的花朵盛放時,數英里範圍內都可以清楚地看得見,大東山山峰下的山坡,尤如披上了白色的婚紗」。

Maud's Michelia - Snow-white Beauty of the Winter Mountain
The Maud's Michelia (Michelia maudiae), one of the most beautiful winter wild flowers in Hong Kong, is a rare native evergreen tree recorded at only 3 locations in the terrirories. The whole tree is covered by large white Magnolia-like blossoms in January, each with brilliantly yellow stamens at the centre at a background of glossy dark-green foliage.  This species of Michelia, closely related to the garden magnolias and unique to Hong Kong, was first discovered in the 1900's by S.T.Dunn, who was working at the Bontanical and Forestry Department and named the plant after his wife. Maud's Michelia is a protected species under Forestry Regulation Cap 96.

The location in which the speciment was discovered had been much publicized when it was described in 1985 by Derek Kamp in his famous book "12 Hong Kong Walks", and the beauty of the plant had been appreciated by many plant-lovers since. Unfortunately, the scene of "the hillsides below Sunset Peak take on a bridal look as the trees with their crown of blossoms stand out for miles around", as described by Kemp, has somehow disappeared in recent years for some reasons. However, watching carefully, one can still pick out the small white patches of their creamy blossoms from the summit of Sunset Peak. During a visit to the site in January 2001, only a single speciment in bloom was found hidden among the dense woodland near the summit, far away from the original site described by Kemp.

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