Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Winter orchids?

You might associate orchids with hot climates. Think again.

Although the temperature outside can fall below -20 C, moth orchids in a greenhouse in Inner Mongolia are blooming.

The 60,000 square metre site in autonomous region’s Tumed Right Banner is one of the country’s biggest orchid high-altitude plantations.

According to the press, deputy managing director Zhao Yifan, said the park, run by of the Luzhiyuan Landscape Construction Co Ltd, produced more than 800,000 seedlings in 2012, with half of them sent to Beijing.

He expects to see 15,000 of them appear in the capital’s markets during Spring Festival at a competitive prices.

He’s hoping to expand, and he’s already exporting 300,000 orchids a year to South Korea.

The high cost of air cargo makes it difficult for Zhao to enter the European flower market. He considered transporting orchids by rail to Amsterdam, Europe’s flower trade hub, but is rethinking, over rigid quarantine regulations in countries en route.

‘When the flowers enter a new country, the whole package has to be opened and checked,’ Zhao said. ‘This is harmful for fresh plants.’

However, he expects to see more government involvement and international cooperation finally establish a route free from complicated inspections.

More than 1.5 million orchid seedlings are grown in Inner Mongolia every year, while about 60 million are grown annually nationwide.

Tumed Right Banner is a region of western Inner Mongolia, People's Republic of China. It is under the administration of Baotou City, and is located along on the Jingzang Expressway, running from Beijing to Tibet.

Being an orchid fan is brilliant for geography.