Hundreds of types of flowers grow in the vast mountains of China, from tiny wildflowers to the giant banana flower over three feet wide and three feet tall. Botanists have brought some of these exotic species to the U.S. and many are now available to gardeners for their own yards. Some varieties are familiar to gardeners in the U.S., and some are too difficult to grow outside China and remain exotic and rare to U.S. gardeners.
Chinese Alpine Lily
The Chinese alpine lily is a summer blooming bulb that grows in the Himalaya Mountains with beautiful flowers ranging from pink to white. These orchid-looking flowers grow on tall stems that range from one to three feet tall. The cool mountains of China, with acid soil, provide an ideal environment for the alpine lily and make it difficult to grow for gardeners outside of China.
Fuchsias in China's mountains grow in vivid colors and include both large and small forms. Most varieties that today's gardeners in the U.S. grow were originally collected by early British explorers to China. China's isolated mountains have preserved many unique species of fuchsias, where the cool mountain temperatures provide the perfect environment for these delicate flowers.
Giant Golden Jungle Banana Flower
The giant golden jungle banana flower is not only enjoyed for its magnificent shape, but is also eaten by people who live in the mountains of China. The flower is a golden yellow color. Its petals are sometimes pulled back to reveal the inner petals, forming what some people call a flower pagoda.
Golden Rape Flower
Golden rape flowers grow in large fields throughout both the mountains and lowlands of China and produce valuable rape-seed oil used throughout China and the world. They bloom in early July and remind travelers of fields of the mustard plants seen in the U.S. The southern Chinese province of Quinghai holds a golden rape flower festival each year.
Himalayn Blue Poppy
Himalayan blue poppy is one of the flowers that possesses a pure blue color. They are well suited for the cool, moist environment of the Himalayas and are difficult to grow anywhere else. The blue color of the Himalayan blue poppy comes from the high level of acid in the soil combined with its unique pigment. Himalayan poppies do best in temperatures that only range between 50 to 60 degrees.
Chinese tree peonies have been called "one of the most glorious shrubs known to man." Tree peonies can carry up to 50 full, beautifully scented flowers with silky petals in brilliant colors. They have been called the National Flower of China. These shrubs can grow from four to five feet tall.