Jump to the content zone at the center

Taipei City Goverment

City News

Follow the Scent of Flowers at Taipei Expo Park Orchid Tree Maze!

* Although the orchid tree’s name contains the word orchid, it is not at all related to its namesake. Bearing a remarkable resemblance to Murraya paniculata, the 2 are virtually indistinguishable. The flowers are as delicate as grains of rice, and therefore it is also known as Aglaia odorata (translated as rice orchid or pearl orchid). The orchid tree originated from Huanan, China, and it is rumored to have been introduced to Taiwan by Koxinga and planted throughout Tainan. However, since the flowers emit a mild fragrance during the flowering season, and it is easy to cultivate, hence it has gradually gained popularity over the years.

The little round flowers with light yellow hue emanate an enchanting mild fragrance, and they are often metamorphosed as “Lu Zhu’s tears”. A scholar from the Qing Dynasty once composed a poem which compares the orchid tree to Lu Zhu, the concubine of the wealthiest man during the Jin Dynasty Shi Chong. The string of rice-like white flowers is compared to the tears shed by Lu Zhu before she plummeted to her death. If the orchid tree is aware that it is being compared with Lu Zhu in the sorrowful yet beautiful poem, will it bloom more vivaciously and emit more fragrance?

According to Public Works Commissioner Lin Chih-feng, orchid trees are elegantly shaped and easy to trim, therefore they are often used as hedges. The light yellow colored flowers resemble small pearls growing at the end of the branches, emanating a mild bouquet. Walking by the hedge, one will not only be able to admire the leaf-shaped flowers but also catch a whiff of the invigorating fragrance. That is why people used to wear the string of flowers on their heads, or dry them under the sun and use them for scenting tea. When out of the flowering period, the orchid tree looks similar to Murraya paniculata; however, Murraya paniculata exhibits an alternate leaf arrangement, which is different from the opposite leaf arrangement of orchid trees.

It is not difficult to track down orchid trees that “look like Lu Zhu’s tears”; simply pay attention or follow the refreshing fragrance, and you will find it on shade trees or hedges. We want to recommend a great getaway for you; hidden inside the Garden Maze of the Taipei Expo Park, there is a bunch of kids playing hide and seek amid the orchid tree flowers. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of airplanes flying overhead, perhaps even take a photo with them. This is a wonderful place for family outings, so are you ready to embark on a quest to search for orchid trees?