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Beijing Chooses Flowers for 2008 Olympics
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Chinese botanists are gathering in Beijing this weekend to select the flowers that will be used to decorate parts of Beijing for the 2008 Olympics.

"Experts will select 100 types of flowers from more than 300, which will be able to cope with Beijing's climate," said an official from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Landscape and Forestry.

Chrysanthemums and China roses are already confirmed on the list thanks to their status as "flowers of the city", titles bestowed on them by Beijing residents in 1986. Also on the list include peony and calla.

In recent years, a debate has arisen over the suitability of the Chrysanthemum as one of Beijing's signature flowers due to its widespread use as a funeral flower in the West.

Supporters of the flower argue that it received high praise in ancient Chinese literature and if you gave someone a single Chrysanthemum, it meant you viewed the person as honest. Even so, Chinese diplomatic officials now no longer consider a gift of a Chrysanthemum appropriate for visiting foreign guests.

Plants grown in the Beijing summer can usually sustain the oppressive heat and humidity, but the current amount of flowers is not sufficient to meet the capital's demand for street and stadium decoration in 2008.

Landscape engineers are going to introduce more flower types from other parts of the country through crossbreeding to produce flowers that can blossom in the heat of August , experts said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 19, 2006)

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