Tuesday, March 6, 2018

NTU Azalea Festival (臺大杜鵑花節) [Taipei kong mahal 180307: City of Azaleas]


Cherry blossoms, calla lily, tulips.  There is another flower that blossoms in Taipei every spring.  The azaleas! And one school takes pride in having a variety of these flowers.  Taiwan’s premier institution of higher learning, the National Taiwan University (NTU) is hosting again another azalea festival for its students, faculty and die-hard fans of my beloved city.


Rhododendron pulchrum


My Youbike parked beside an azalea shrub

So where are the azaleas?  NTU is a very big campus but there is no need to be worry because the flowers are planted along the sidewalks of the Palm Boulevard.   Just walk to enjoy the blossoms or ride a Youbike to explore the university without getting tired.    

at Fu bell fountain




Since I’ve been here before, it was easy for me to find the place to start my azalea viewing.   The Fu bell area has a fountain surrounded with bright colored flowers.  On closer inspection, they were azaleas and they come in a variety of forms.   One would think that these flowers are of only one type, but if you will study them closely you will realize that they are of different kinds.



Rhododendron mucronatum 'Akemono'



Rhododendron mucronatum 'Shiroyukyu'






Rhododendron oldhamii Maxim

The pink variety has dark spots on the inside part of its petals making it stand out from the rest of the blossoms.  There are also flowers with the white color.  What’s more interesting are the ones that are also white but the petals appear to be wavy.   There is another common variety in Taipei.  They are the violet flowers and sometimes orange colored petals can also be seen





I’m not a botanist to distinguish them properly as each kind of azalea has its own scientific name.   It was fun to know that one variety is endemic to Taiwan.  It’s the Rhododendron kanehirai and it can be found inside the campus.   I was also surprised to know that not all the flowers blossom in March.  Some appear in April and others during the summer season.  With lots of these blossoms to see every year in the campus, it’s no wonder that NTU has been dubbed as the “City of Azaleas”. 

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How to get to NTU:  Board the Taipei MRT and alight at Gongguan Station.  Go to Exit 3.  There are Youbikes outside this exit.

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