Wednesday October 29, 2008 Plant Hunting in Taiwan and Getting to know China with Mark Weathington of the JCRA

nAlocasia in Taiwa

Alocasia in Taiwan

Mark Weathington has a great job; one many of us can only dream about.  As assistant director and curator of collections of the JC Raulston Arboretum, he gets to go around the world building international relationships and plant hunting. 

Tony Avent accompanied Mark on his latest plant hunting adventure…or was it the other way around?  In any case, two southern boys went to Asia. 

Mark presented his adventures to many at a recent Friends of the Arboretum Lecture.  I was unable to attend, as were some others, so Mark graciously told his tales again to a group of JCRA Volunteers via a brown bag lunch seminar.

Mark Weathington discussing his China trip

Mark Weathington discussing his China trip

The first part of Mark’s talk was about his 3 week trip to China.  The purpose of this trip was about getting to know China’s plants and her people.  The group he travel with were from a class at NC State. 

The second part of his talk was about his 3 week adventure with Tony Avent in Taiwan.   Tony has posted his travel log on his website  Mark promises to write his soon.  

An engaging and knowledgable speaker, Mark made us feel we as if we were with him on his journeys.  I’ve never been disappointed to hear him speak; today was no different.  Below is a his slide list. 

  Asian Adventures:Plant Hunting in China and Taiwan
  Friends of the Arboretum Lecture   10/2/08
  Mark Weathington
1 Huangshan Mountains – China
2 Map – China
3 Our intrepid leaders: Dr. Xiang, Dr. Fu (
4 Students
5 Weed
6-7. West Lake, Hangzhou
8-9. Cinnamomum camphora
10-20. Signs, signs, everywhere signs
21 ????
22 Map – China
23-25. Shanghai
26 China’s new national symbol
27 Humble Administrator’s Garden
28 Podocarpus macrophyllus bonsai
29-31. The new China
32 Map – China
33 Map – Putoushan
34-35. Putoushan
36-37. Neolitsea aurata var. chekiangensis
38 Euonymus hamiltonianus
39 Glochidium puberum
40 Carpinus putoensis
41 Amorphophallus kiusianus
42 Map – China
43 Tianmushan, Hangzhou
44 Platycarya strobilacea
45 Cryptomeria fortunei
46 Acer buergerianum
47 Bischofia polycarpa
48 Calycanthus chinensis
49 Deutzia ningpoensis
50 Paris polyphylla
51 Saxifraga stolonifera (black leaf form)
52 Map – China
53 Anhui Province
54-57 Huangshan (Yellow) Mountains, Anhui
58 Good reason to stay in school
59 Woody plant diversity in eastern China
60 Acer elegantulum
61 Enkianthus campanulatus
62 Rhododendronsp.
63 Paliurus hemsleyanus
64 Briggsiasp.
65 Tibetan macaque
66-70 Temples and details
71 Aesculus chinensis
72 500 year old Pistacia chinensis
73 Liquidambar formosana
74 Ulmus szechuanica
75 Podocarpus macrophyllus
76-84 Dinner?
85 Taiwan
86 Map – Taiwan
87 Cyathea spinulosa
88 Dipteris conjugata
89-90 Illicium arborescens
91 Land crab
92 Bad luck on our first day
93 Always read the signs!
94 Map – Taiwan
95 The opposite of south
96 Typical mountain road
97-98 More signs
99-101 More typical mountain roads
102 What are they trying to tell us?
103 Road out
104 Liquid courage at the gas station
105 Our roadside collecting competition
106 Rubus taiwanicola
107-108 Begonia chitoensis
109 Trillium tschonoskii
110 Arisaema grapospadix
111-113 Arisaema taiwanense
114 Hydrangea aspera
115-116 Tetrapanax papyrifer
117-119 Fatsia polycarpa
120 Dendropanax pellucidopedunculatus
121 Sinopanax formosanus
122 Schefflera taiwaniana
123-125 Hotels
126-129 Detour
130 Bushwacking
131-132 What a welcome
133-137 Asarumspp.
138 Rohdea watanabei
139 Titanotrichum oldhamii
140 Zingiber kawagoii
141 Mahonia oiwakensis
142 Helwingia chinensis
143 Trochodendron aralioides
144 Callicarpa sp.
145 Ardisia crenata
146 Tony starts thinking big
147 Disturbing sign
148 Formosan rock macaque
149 Refreshing beverage
150-151 Rock gardening, Taiwanese style
152 Green roofs
153 The south gives back


Water was not a shortage in China

Water was not a shortage in China



He stated he brought back about 300 plants from Taiwan.  Describing the process of caring for the plants prior to returning home and to legally get the plants out of Taiwan and into the USA sounded daunting, but that’s part of being a plant hunter.  If it were easy, we would all be doing it – maybe.     

I would love to go plant hunting one day.  I love to travel and have been to more countries than states.  If I could choose,  the first country would be Japan.  I’ve never been and it is near the top of my list.  Depending on the day, it is at the top. 

 I went to China in 1993…it sounded like a lot has changed, ‘cept maybe the air pollution. 

Mark Weathington taking questions

Mark Weathington taking questions


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