A Wetland With Lovely Night-Blooming Flowers

The small-leaved Barringtonia in the 52-jia Wetland. (Image: Liu Hsin-Hung)
The small-leaved Barringtonia in the 52-jia Wetland. (Image: Liu Hsin-Hung)

Situated in the Dongshan River drainage area in northern  Taiwan‘s Yilan County, Yilan 52-jia Wetland (宜蘭五十二甲溼地) is one of the 41 National Class Wetlands designated by the Taiwanese government in 2015. A “jia” is a unit of land area (甲) commonly used by Taiwanese people, and one jia is equivalent to 0.9699 hectares (2.396 acres). Since the wetland covers an area of 52 jia (50.43 hectares or 124.59 acres) extending across several townships, it is thus named Yilan 52-jia Wetland.

Please watch the following video of the Yilan 52-jia Wetland (宜蘭五十二甲溼地):

As this wetland contains low-lying marshes that accumulate water all-year-round, it is the perfect habitat for aquatic animals and plants. It is reported that there are over 170 species of birds inhabiting the area, including black storks, graylag geese, black-winged stilts, pelicans, northern lapwings, and the endangered black-faced spoonbills. Not surprisingly, the wetland attracts countless bird watchers every year.

Yilan 52-jia Wetland is a National Class Wetland( in northern Taiwan. (Image: Provided by Wu Jie Township Government)

Yilan 52-jia Wetland is a National Class Wetland in northern Taiwan. (Image: Wu Jie Township Travel Service Center)

Plant species commonly seen in the wetland include buttonbush (風箱樹), common reed (蘆葦), salty grass (鹹草), seaside Clerodendrum (苦藍盤), baby’s breath (滿天星), and small-leaved Barringtonia (穗花棋盤腳).

The Yilan 52-jia Wetland is home to buttonbush (風箱樹). (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

The Yilan 52-jia Wetland is home to buttonbush (風箱樹). (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Among them, the small-leaved Barringtonia, also known as Barringtonia racemose, was an important plant for water and soil conservation in Taiwan. However, it’s now endangered due to the overexploitation of estuaries and the arbitrary felling of trees. To restore this precious species, a small-leaved Barringtonia restoration area (穗花棋盤腳勳復育區) has been established in the wetland.

The small-leaved Barringtonia in the 52-jia Wetland is referred to as the “Summer Night Fireworks. (Image: Liu Hsin-Hung)

The small-leaved Barringtonia in the 52-jia Wetland is referred to as the ‘Summer Night Fireworks.’ (Image: Liu Hsin-Hung)

Small-leaved Barringtonia is an evergreen tree with a straight and unbranched stem reaching up to 52.5 feet (16 m) in height. It has large drooping racemes of white or pinkish flowers, ranging from 20 cm (0.7 feet) to 80 cm (2.6 feet) in length.

The Beautiful blossoms of Small-leaved Barringtonia in Yilan 52-jia Wetland. (Image: Sandy Wang)

The beautiful blossoms of small-leaved Barringtonia in Yilan 52-jia Wetland. (Image: Sandy Wang)

Its buds are pinkish red and split open bringing forth masses of delicate stamens (雄蕊) in white sprays up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) in width, and often tinged with pink. However, it blooms only at night, and each flower lasts only until sunrise.

Summer is the best time to take in the stunning blossoms of Small-leaved Barringtonia in Yilan 52-jia Wetland. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Summer is the best time to take in the stunning blossoms of small-leaved Barringtonia in Yilan 52-jia Wetland. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

The precious nighttime fluorescence of the small-leaved Barringtonia has become one of the iconic features of Yilan 52-jia Wetland. The flowers are so elegant and delicate that local people often refer to them as the “Summer Night Fireworks.”

The small-leaved barringtonia restoration area in Yilan 52-jia Wetland (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

The small-leaved Barringtonia restoration area in the Yilan 52-jia Wetland. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

They also have a lovely fragrance. It’s a romantic and beautiful experience to stroll among the trees in the evening while enjoying the cool summer breeze and sweet fragrance of the flowers.

Small-leaved Barringtonia blooms only at night, and each flower lasts only until sunrise. (Image: Courtesy of Sandy Wang)

Small-leaved Barringtonia blooms only at night, and each flower lasts only until sunrise. (Image:  Sandy Wang)

Mr. Brown Avenue (伯朗大道) is an interesting destination not far from the wetland. The winding route is the perfect place for biking and strolling. At the time of this writing, rice grains just turned from green to yellow, allowing one to appreciate the vast expanse of yellow waves along the winding route while enjoying the gentle breeze and pleasant smells from the rice paddies.

A group of visitors are having fun at Mr. Brown Avenue (伯朗大道) in Yilan. (Image: Courtesy of Liu Lichuan)

A group of visitors jumping for joy along Mr. Brown Avenue. (伯朗大道) in Yilan. (Image: Liu Li-Chuan)

To promote tourism, the local government has recently launched a land-art activity. The Chinese characters “良食大道” and “幸福冬山” were painted in the rice paddies along the two sides of Mr. Brown Avenue. They read “Good Rice Avenue” and “Happy Dongshan Township.”

The Chinese characters of 良食大道 and幸福冬山were painted in the rice paddies along the two sides of Mr. Brown Avenue, (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

The Chinese characters  ‘良食大道’ and ‘幸福冬山’ were painted in the rice paddies along the two sides of Mr. Brown Avenue. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

While visiting Yilan 52-jia Wetland, it’s also a great idea to visit some other interesting attractions in Yilan, such as the National Center for Traditional Arts (國立傳統藝術中心), Plum Lake (梅花湖), Dongshan River Water Park (東山河親水公園), Lanyang Museum (蘭陽博物館), and Luodong Forestry Culture Garden (羅東林業文化園區).

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