Fall's favorite flower
Osmanthus comes to blossom at Binjiang Avenue in Lujiazui area of Pudong New Area in October, 2013. [Photo/Shanghai Star]
The sweet scent of osmanthus flowers will soon fill the city. Wu Ni discovers some of the best places to enjoy the floral wonder.
The smell of Shanghai in early fall is pure and sweet. Osmanthus flowers are in full bloom and they perfume the whole city. The lingering fragrance can last for as long as one month.
There is no need to take a deep breath. The elusive floral scent floats in the air. It may you’re your step on a busy street or refresh your mind when you open the window in the morning. It is tradition for family members to gather at Mid-Autumn Festival to enjoy the harvest moon and moon cakes under the sweetly scented osmanthus trees.
Fragrant tea: Oolong tea bags with dried osmanthus flowers. [Photo by /Shanghai Star]
But this year, the osmanthus fragrance is yet to fill the air, even 10 days after the moon festival. Wu Zhixing, a retired botanist from Shanghai Botanical Garden, explains that the relatively high temperature has stopped the osmanthus from blooming.
Wu has been observing the more than 8,000 osmanthus trees in the botanic garden for the past month. “The flower buds are fully grown and are poised to bloom. Only a small number is in full bloom and the fragrance is very light,” he says.
He says the osmanthus buds will bloom when the temperature stays between 24C to 28C for a period of time. It is possible that they will bloom in late September when it is cooler.
Records show that osmanthus in Shanghai normally comes into full bloom in late September and early October. Last year, the city was not filled with the fragrance of osmanthus until Oct 3.
WHERE TO ENJOY
Osmanthus trees are widely planted in the city’s parks, streets and residential communities. Here we select the best spots for you to enjoy the fragrance in and around Shanghai.
Guilin Park 桂林公园
This is the most popular destination to enjoy osmanthus among Shanghai residents. More than 1,000 osmanthus trees from 23 varieties are grown in the small park, which was built in 1929 and completed in 1932 as the private garden of the city’s notorious gangster Huang Jinrong. What could be more relaxing than enjoying the fragrance along the corridors, bridges and pavilions? A cup of osmanthus Longjing tea will effectively remedy any tiredness.
Address:188 Caobao Road, near Guilin Road, Xuhui district(徐汇区漕宝路118号)
Shanghai Botanical Garden 上海植物园
In the southwest of the botanical garden there is an osmanthus garden with more than 8,000 osmanthus trees covering an area of 19,000 square meters. Among them an osmanthus tree that is over a hundred years old attracts much admiration from visitors.
This could also be a perfect park for families because children can learn about osmanthus trees as well as more than 6,000 species of plants in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
Address: 1111 Longwu Road, Xuhui district(徐汇区龙吴路1111号)
Oriental Land 东方绿舟
Sweet Osmanthus Road in the park boasts more than 8,000 osmanthus trees lining it. Visitors can stroll along the road and inhale the fragrance in breeze from Dianshan Lake near the park, or rent bikes or quad-cycles to explore the maze of bridges and wooded areas. The park covers a vast area of 373 hectares and has been a popular destination for youth camps, physical and teamwork training, and corporate family days.
Address: 6888 Huqingping Road, Qingpu district(青浦区沪清平公路6888号)