Somehow, Mother Nature knows to send out Chinese New Year
flowers to brighten the day of hikers this time of the year :)
A close-up view of some of my favorite
Hong Kong seasonal blooms
Maybe they're not so rare after all. The first February after I moved to Hong Kong, an expat friend and I spotted some beautiful pink flowers that neither of us had previously seen before while hiking on Hong Kong Island. After conducting some research as to what they were, I discovered that they're known as Chinese New Year flowers and listed as endangered by the Hong Kong government.
As its English name suggests, the Chinese New Year flower is a seasonal flower which blooms during the biggest festive annual occasion for Chinese people (and, for that matter, Koreans, Vietnamese and pretty much every people who have a lunar calendar). And over the years, I've come to look forward to catching sight of these pretty pink blossoms when I've gone hiking during Chinese New Year.
Maybe it's my imagination -- or maybe I've grown more adept at spotting them -- but in recent years, I feel like I've been seeing more and more of these flowers than previously. Even so, I was really surprised this afternoon when, after telling the friend I had gone hiking in the northern New Territories with today that Chinese New Year flowers are rare sights early on during our hike when we came across a clump of them, we proceeded to see as many as we did along the trail!
Perhaps after some years of being given protected status by the Hong Kong government, these flowers -- which deforestation almost wiped out -- have come to thrive once more in the wilds of the Big Lychee. If so, I really am glad -- and am happy to report that I didn't see anyone trying to pluck any of the Chinese New Year flowers found along the trail, only shutterbugs happily snapping photos of these beautiful wild blossoms. :)