O’ Formosa

Wusheh Cherry

2021-02

Wusheh Cherry

©雨果鯨

©雨果鯨

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

When the cherry blossoms start to bloom, spring is not far away. There are around two dozen different species of cherry trees found in Taiwan with only few being native. The Wusheh Cherry tree is one such native cherry tree. Unlike the pink Yoshino cherry tree blossoms or red Formosan cherry tree blossoms, those of the Wusheh cherry are white and small as pure snow.

Wusheh Cherry 
Binomial name:Prunus taiwaniana Hayata

Orange Belly Tree Frog

2021-01

Orange Belly Tree Frog

©蘇同新

©蘇同新

Text|Snow RamConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

Taiwan has 14 endemic species of frogs, 10 belonging to the family Rhacophoridae of tree frogs. One member, the Orange Belly Tree Frog, inhabits the tops of trees in undisturbed broad-leaved forests of 500 to 1,000 meters mountain areas. These frogs are difficult to track and observe because they live far above the ground and their croak is weak and intermittent.

Orange Belly Tree Frog 
Binomial name:Rhacophorus aurantiventris

Formosan Pangolin

2020-12

Formosan Pangolin

© 蘇同新

© 蘇同新

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

There are 8 species of pangolins, scaly anteaters, around the world. One of the luckiest is the Formosan pangolin, a sub-species of the Chinese pangolin endemic to Taiwan. Valued for their scales, pangolins are threatened by poaching and illegal trade globally. Fortunately, although world population of pangolins is in decline, their number has increased in Taiwan.

Formosan Pangolin 
Binomial name:Manis pentadactyla pentadactyla 

Formosan Yellow-throated Marten

2020-11

Formosan Yellow-throated Marten

©Ginny Lee

©Ginny Lee

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

The Formosan Yellow-throated Marten is a yellow and brown short-haired omnivore dwelling in mountain forests below 2,000 meters, though a few have settled at 3,850 meters in the woods near the North Peak Weather Station on Yushan. They look cute and small, but their claws and teeth make them deadly hunters, occasionally preying on mammals larger than they are.

Formosan Yellow-throated Marten 
Binomial name:Martes flavigula chrysospila

Black-naped Monarch

2020-10

Black-naped Monarch

©Sam Yeh / AFP via Getty Images

©Sam Yeh / AFP via Getty Images

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

One of Taiwan's local birds, the Black-naped Monarch has shiny blue feathers and unique breeding habits. These features make them popular among photographers. During their March-to-August breeding season, they carefully build their funnel-like nests. After mating, the female lays three eggs. The parents take turns caring for eggs as well as the chicks after they have hatched. The young ones grow up and start learning to fly in ten days.

Black-naped Monarch 
Binomial name:Hypothymis azurea oberholseri

Actias neidhoeferi

2020-09

Actias neidhoeferi

© 施禮正

© 施禮正

Text|Snow RamConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

This enigmatically elegant moth is a member of Actias(Luna Moth)genus. It can only be found in Taiwan's mountainous areas above 2,000 meters where the Taiwan Fir and Taiwan Spruce grow. These plants are the only thing the moth's caterpillar eats. The adult moth has a very short life span after emerging from its cocoon, so if you have the chance to see one, consider yourself lucky for you have blessed by the Luna Goddess.

Actias neidhoeferi 
Binomial name:Actias neidhoeferi Ong & Yu

Morrison Stonecrop

2020-08

Morrison Stonecrop

© 李權裕

© 李權裕

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

Hiking along sunny trails in mountain areas above 2,500 meters in Taiwan during summer, you may spot the Morrison Stonecrop with its bright star-shaped yellow blossoms and tiny succulent leaves. Its genus name, Sedum, is derived from Latin, "sedo," which means "to settle;" for they are mostly found well settled on rocky cliffs. There are more than 400 members in the stonecrop family, the Morrison Stonecrop being one of the eight species endemic to Taiwan.

Taiwan Edelweiss 
Binomial name:Leontopodium microphyllum Hayata

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.