In Search of the Flower that Blooms Every 3,000 Years

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Image: chinhphap

Youtan Poluo growing on Buddha statue.

The myth that has grown up around the plant called the Youtan Poluo or Udumbara has clung on almost as stubbornly as the nonexistent roots with which the plant itself clings on. Said to bloom only once every 3,000 years, this occasion is supposed to mark the arrival of a future king. Let’s see how much truth there is in this fairytale.

The tiny white flowers on filigree stems are actually not much to look at and could easily be overlooked. Honestly, would you look twice if you found something like this growing in your house? Good that Mr. Ding, a farmer of China’s northeastern Liaoning province, was more observant and curious when he was cleaning the steel pipes in his garden.

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