Tung Blossoms: An Introduction
It happens only once a year, usually in April and May. Little flowers blossom and change the scenery of the entire area. The lush green trees come to life with vibrant blooms of white containing small dashes of interior pink and yellow.
The region gradually transforms into a blanket of white, and I am not referring to snow, I am talking about ‘tung hua,’ often referred to as ‘tung blossoms.’ The paths are naturally converted into a white walking oasis as these little flowers gently trickle from the trees, creating a ‘flower wonderland’ for all to see and enjoy.
Hakka Culture & Tung Hua Significance
The tung trees once played a significant role in the lives of the Hakka people and their livelihood, so huge and important that the Taiwan Hakka Affairs Council organizes concerts and events around major tung hua sightseeing areas.
Traditionally, the Hakka people extracted oil from the tung trees and used the wood from the trees as a means of income and a way to support their family. And even though the oil and wood aren’t harvested anyone, the tung trees are still very symbolic of the Hakka culture.
Tung blossoms can be seen at varying locations all over Taiwan. Miaoli seems to be a popular area for enjoying these pretty blooms but they can also be seen in Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Changhua, Nantou, as well as other areas.
For a more complete list of locations and driving directions in English, refer to this website. Also, this website will also provide information about the ‘blooming status’ – a great tool to refer to when planning your trip.
For those of you who are regular readers, I am sure you all know that I love flowers. I enjoy admiring the beautifully arranged floral decor at some of Taiwan’s top flower festivals, the vibrant colored blooms indicating the arrival of spring, and the green carpeted hills covered with an abundance of orange tiger lilies. So, I am sure my love for tung blossoms must come as no surprise.
I love taking advantage of the warm spring weather to explore the highlighted tung hua regions in my area. It is the perfect excuse to get and about and enjoy an early morning walk.
Personally, I feel the fallen blossoms are the most beautiful in the early morning light. Those white flowers that fell during the night create a perfect white layer over the walking area and look spectacular under the glow from the morning sun. Those pretty blossoms will later become a distant memory as hikers’ footsteps pound them into the soil and pavement.
Another thing I love about tung hua season is the several creations that can be spotted along the path. Piles of tung blossoms are neatly aligned and positioned by other hikers forming artistic expressions. Several flowers are carefully organized to display messages of love and hopes for forever. These temporary art impressions can be found all over marked paths, creating the perfect opportunity to test one’s photography skills.
And of course, I am always up for that challenge!
What about you? Do you like flowers? Do you ever go out and enjoy the pretty blooms blossoming in your area?