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Fairy lily program in Pingsi District blossoms

2019-08-18Taipei Times  English News
Photo courtesy of Taipei Times
Photo courtesy of Taipei Times

The New Taipei City Government yesterday showcased the results of a project to re-establish fairy lilies in Pingsi District, inviting the public to protect the indigenous and endangered species known as “slope fairies.”

Also dubbed “angel wings,” the lilies’ petals are wave-shaped with red dots, but their beauty led to over-harvesting in the past, the Agriculture Department said.

The fairy lily is listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The flower, which grows on south-facing slopes at an altitude of 200m to 600m and blooms in August and September, can often be found among reeds and silver grasses, the department said.

Fairy lilies used to be everywhere in the hilly Pingsi District said local resident Lin Rui-chi (林瑞祺), who has joined the department’s efforts to re-establish the species.

How they blossom is special, he said, because their petals unfold one by one and curl back when in full bloom.

Local people have an emotional attachment to the flower, as how it grows suggests humility, department Director-General Lee Wen said.

Since 2016, the department has invited local households to participate in a program to re-establish the fairy lily, Lee said.

Some of the seeds they planted are blossoming, he said, adding that nearly 6,500 fairy lilies can be seen across the city.

The Taoyuan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station provides the program with technical help, he added.

People should avoid picking or destroying flowers when appreciating their beauty, Lee said, adding that the department aims to rally more local support for wild lilies.