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Taiwan Edelweiss

2020-07

Taiwan Edelweiss

© 黃源明

© 黃源明

Text|Snow RamConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

Taiwan Edelweiss, a glacial relict species, grows among the mountains at altitudes between 3,200m and 3,800m in Taiwan. Just as its relative in the Alps mountain range and the classic song about it, it blooms with fluffy bracts "small and white, clean and bright" from June to August. The tiny, fuzzy white hairs that cover the plant protect it from frost and ultraviolet radiation.

Taiwan Edelweiss 
Binomial name:Leontopodium microphyllum Hayata

Taiwan Barbet

2020-06

Taiwan Barbet

©黃基峰

©黃基峰

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

Sometimes you can hear the high-pitched chirping of the Taiwan Barbet among the trees at parks, campuses, and forests at mid-to-low altitudes in Taiwan. They are not easy to see because their emerald feathers camouflage them well among the leaves. If you find one close up, you will notice it has a distinctive blue crown, golden forehead and larynx and a red area under its larynx. Its chirping resembles the rhythm of a monk striking the temple block, hence its nickname the "flowery monk."

Taiwan Barbet 
Binomial name:Psilopogon nuchalis

Taiwan Rhododendron

2020-05

Taiwan Rhododendron

©翁明毅

©翁明毅

Text|Snow RamConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

While hiking along the trails in Taiwan's central and southern mountain ranges in mid-spring, you may come upon the Taiwan Rhododendron's white bell-shaped flower blossoming. This beauty can grow to 20 meters, the highest among those belonging to the Ericaceae family in Taiwan. It is also Taiwan's only native species capable of forming a rhododendron forest.

Taiwan Rhododendron 
Binomial name:Rhododendron formosanum Hemsl.

White Dolphin

2020-04

White Dolphin

©Forestry Bureau

©Forestry Bureau

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Ocean Conservation Administration

This species of dolphin is found exclusively in the waters off the coast of Indo-Pacific islands, China, Hong-Kong and west coast of Taiwan. Its skin color changes from grey to pink or white as it matures. It is often spotted during March and April around the time of the sea goddess Mazu's birthday is celebrated. The dolphin seems to be joining the celebration, and thus its nickname "Mazu's fish."

Taiwanese White Dolphin 
Binomial name:Sousa chinensis taiwanensis

Popiah / Fresh Spring Roll

2020-04

Popiah / Fresh Spring Roll

Text|Wei-Lin Lee・Illustrate|Wanyun

The fresh spring roll is a Chinese delicacy traditionally eaten during Tomb-sweeping Day. How it is cooked and what it is filled with vary by region. In northern Taiwan, people prefer it filled mainly with bonito-stock-boiled-shredded lettuce and chopped braised pork; in southern Taiwan, people prefer to add more sugar and peanut powder to sweeten it up.

Puffed-rice cake

2020-03

Puffed-rice cake

Text|Roger Kuo・Illustrate|Wanyun

Taiwanese puffed-rice cake is made in a dramatic process. Rice is heated in a sealed cannonlike chamber of a pressure cooker. When the chamber is opened, the sudden change in pressure creates a loud boom followed by great clouds of steam. The puffed, crispy rice is mixed with the heated malt syrup, molded into blocks, cut into pieces, packaged and sold throughout Taiwan.

Taiwan Quinoa / Djulis

2020-03

Taiwan Quinoa / Djulis

©Shutterstock/glen photo

©Shutterstock/glen photo

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

Once considered exotic, Taiwan Quinoa is in fact a native species familiar to indigenous people in Taiwan for centuries. Known as "djulis" in Paiwan, "mukun" in Bunun, this brightly colored red and yellow quinoa grows well in dry, barren soil, making it suitable for hard times, and it is considered as nutritious as quinoa from South America.

Taiwan Quinoa / Djulis
Binomial name:Chenopodium formosanum

Sweet Peanut Soup

2020-02

Sweet Peanut Soup

Text|Wei-Lin Lee・Illustrate|Wanyun

Taiwan's sweet peanut soup is delicious and simple to make. All you need is three key ingredients: water, sugar, and peanuts. The key to success in preparing this delicacy is to simmer the peanuts until tender. This sweet soup goes well with other Taiwanese delicacies including deep-fried dough sticks, douhua and tangyuan.

Taiwan Rosefinch

2020-02

Taiwan Rosefinch

©簡國祥

©簡國祥

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

The Taiwan Rosefinch, once considered a subspecies of the Vinaceous Rosefinch, is only found in nature in Taiwan. The male has striking red wine colored feathers, while the female has a simple brown appearance. These birds can be spotted in mountain ranges at about 2,000~3,000 meters. There they feed mainly upon seeds and small worms .

Taiwan Rosefinch
Binomial name:Carpodacus formosanus

Formosan Sambar

2020-01

Formosan Sambar

©莊竣程

©莊竣程

Text |Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

Formosan Sambars are Taiwan's largest herbivores, with a head and body length approximating 180 cm. They are also known as “four-eyed deer” because of their suborbital glands, which are situated just below their eyes. They rub the glands on tree trunks to mark their domain and open them when they are excited.

Fromosan Sambar
Binomial name:Rusa unicolor swinhoii
Family: Cervida Rusa