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Flower expert devoted to chrysanthemums

By Liu Kun and Zhou Lihua in Wuhan | | Updated: 2016-11-28 14:27

Over the past three decades, 61-year-old flower farmer Li Jianxiang has cultivated more than 300 new varieties of chrysanthemum.

Born in 1955 in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, he was assigned to work in the countryside after graduating from high school in 1974. It was during that period that he first discovered his lifelong interest in floriculture.

"At that time, everyone had their own land assigned which was normally used to grow vegetables," he said. "But I used it to plant herbs. I would refer to the relevant books and think about how I could best manage them."

In 1978, Li enrolled at Wuhan Garden Technician School and began to seriously expand his theoretical knowledge. After graduation in 1980, he was assigned to work at Jiefang Park in Wuhan, specializing in chrysanthemums.

After attending the first National Chrysanthemum Expo in Shanghai in 1982, he decided that he would concentrate on researching new varieties of the flower.

He began to do research and even asked for overtime in order to spend longer on his work.

Eventually, after three years of failure, the hard work began to pay off.

Li's first chrysanthemum seed was called "Huanghe Xianzhu", meaning a yellow crane with a pearl in its mouth.

Among the more than 300 new varieties of chrysanthemum he has cultivated since, about 20 of them are edible.

He is now planning to produce more that can be used in food or even medicine.

"I have devoted my whole life to growing chrysanthemums," Li said.

Wang Pengyuan contributed to this story.

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