绝对的紫色山峰 Positively purple peaks
Azaleas blooming on Hwangmaesan Mountain, South Korea
Vast colonies of royal azaleas paint the sides of South Korea’s Hwangmaesan Mountain a vibrant purple as summer approaches. Sightseers flock to see this striking pink and purple carpet of flowers which was created gradually as dairy cows and sheep ate the grass and plants, but left behind the poisonous azaleas which spread across the mountain.
For those who want to climb it, Hwangmaesan also features massive rock formations, stunning views, and a legend that anyone who prays at the summit will have their wish granted. It reaches an altitude of around 3,650 feet and offers a peaceful escape from city life for hikers and campers. Those who want to walk among the azaleas should head there in May, when they come into bloom. But dress appropriately, it still gets chilly up at the summit.
是金色的花朵？还是造纸的灵魂？ Golden flowers, paper banknotes?
Stress seems to melt away when you gaze at this serene forest protecting the mitsumata blossoms below. While the flowering buds are beautiful in their natural state, the mitsumata shrub (Edgeworthia chrysantha) has so much more to offer. Originally brought from China to Japan by monks, the green plant is now a staple of Japanese papermaking and one of three principle ingredients in washi, traditional Japanese paper. No wonder, then, that it's also known as the Oriental paperbush. Mitsumata washi is dense and holds ink well—it's a favorite of artists and calligraphers—and sheets of mitsumata paper are also used in traditional shoji screens.
It's this very versatility and strength that made mitsumata a natural candidate for Japanese banknotes. The dense, short fiber from the inner layer of bark helps create sturdy currency that can withstand millions of grubby hands and transactions. Mitsumata made its Japanese banknote debut in 1879, and it's still used in currency there today.
Want to see mitsumata in bloom? Spring's the time to catch the golden flowers, and gardeners note that you'll smell the heady, almost spicy fragrance before you see the bush itself. After the flowers fade, the leaves take on a bluish, silvery hue, and in autumn they turn golden themselves.