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Endangered hardy yellow hibiscus 'Hwang-geun' recovered in Jeju Island Updated: 2022-08-16 11:41:00 KST

Efforts to save an endangered species of flowering plants native to South Korea have been bearing fruit over in the southern resort island of Jeju.
Our Jeong Eun-joo has more on the yellow hibiscus known as "Hwang-geun" here in the country.

Ojo-ri Port in Jeju Island's Seongsan-eup, in the city of Seogwipo, is the largest area in South Korea for the hardy yellow hibiscus flower.

Also known as "Hwang-geun," these yellow flowers can be seen along Jeju's trails.
It's the only native species among the hibiscus genus in South Korea, and is classified as a second-grade endangered plant.
The petals are elegant and look like rolled-up sheets of traditional Korean paper, "Hanji."
The flower is also nicknamed "treasure pocket" because the golden stamen in the center is said to look like treasure.

"The flowers are so beautiful to look at while walking when they bloom in June and July. It would be nice for more tourists to come and visit here."

Hwang-geun is a halophyte, or salt-tolerant plant that grows in soil or waters with high salinity, and was common in warm climates such as Jeju Island and Jeollanam-do Province.
But in 1988 it was listed as an endangered species following reckless coastal development and road construction which destroyed the flower's natural habitat.

That's when the public and private sectors united and set out to save the Hwang-geun.
In 2003, a private organization started restoration work by planting them along roads and trails.

Since 2013, the National Institute of Biological Resources has carried out large-scale transplantation work. taking the flowers from Jeollanam-do Province to Jeju's coastal areas, Songaksan Mountain, and the island's Olle Trail.

As a result, the Hwang-geun is thriving genetically.
So much so that the government is now planning to remove it from the endangered species list in the near future.

"The artificially restored group has a similar blooming rate as the natural group. These results were submitted to be reviewed for the Ministry of Environment's revision of the endangered wildlife list this year."

Hwang-geun is becoming another attraction for tourists visiting Jeju Island.

Jeong Eun-joo, Arirang News.
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