Mother of Gardens

  • By Susan K. Lewis
  • Posted 04.17.07
  • NOVA

The early 20th-century plant hunter Ernest H. Wilson dubbed China the "Mother of Gardens" for good reason: The country is home to some 31,000 native plant species, a third more than the U.S. and Canada combined, and plant hunters have avidly collected Chinese species to transplant in North America and Europe. Gardens throughout the world today showcase flowering plants—rhododendrons, forsythias, magnolias, camellias, primroses, viburnums, and many others—that originated in China. In this slide show, see some of the most beautiful.

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Why do botanists call China the "Mother of Gardens"? See some of the spectacular plants that explain it.

This feature originally appeared on the site for the NOVA program First Flower.



(Rock's peony)
© Rizaniíño Reyes
Courtesy of Spartanburg Community College Horticulture Department
(Fortune's rhododendron)
© Bjarne Dinesen/
(dove tree)
Courtesy of the Magnolias/
(Primula wilsonii)
© Wallner
(regal lily)
Doug Hamilton © WGBH Educational Foundation
(paperback maple)
© Erv Evans
Courtesy of Puckett Photography
(China rose)
Courtesy of The Uncommon Rose/
(hardy impatiens)
Courtesy of

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