1997 North America-China Plant Exploration Consortium (NACPEC), Expedition to Changbai Shan


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1997 North American-China Plant Exploration Consortium (NACPEC), Expedition to Changbai Shan

In 1997, Peter Del Tredici of the Arnold Arboretum participated in the seventh expedition organized by the North American-China Plant Exploration Consortium (NACPEC). Del Tredici was joined by 7 other scientists from 4 American and 3 Chinese institutions1. The Expedition to Changbai Shan (in Jilin Province) was from August 25th to September 27th and it focused on Changbai Shan, or Mountain, and the Yalu River Valley near the North Korean border in northeastern China. In a 2005 Arnoldia article, Peter Del Tredici described the geological and botanical value of the region, “From the geological perspective, the mountain is an active volcano that has erupted four times since the fifteenth century… Botanically speaking, the mountain is famous for the diversity of its vegetation and the size of its forest trees, which have never been heavily logged.”  The high ecological value of the region was recognized by the Chinese in 1960 and UNESCO in 1979 when over 190,000 hectares were secured and given conservation status.

The vast majority of the 143 collections made on the trip were along the route of the Yalu River. Several noteworthy collections  include Chosenia arbutiolia, and Acer triflorum. Unbeknownst to the collectors Chosenia had not yet been brought into cultivation in the United States. Unfortunately, the cuttings from the Changbai Shan collections did not successfully root, but determined to make the introduction Del Tredici contacted a Japanese scientist, Shingo Ishikawa, and had seeds shipped from Japan. Acer triflorum was collected along the Tau Dao River in Antu County. This species has become popular as an ornamental due to its exfoliating bark and brilliant red-orange fall color. Acer is the most frequently collected genus in NACPEC holdings.

1Paul Meyer, Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania; Kris Bachtell, Morton Arboretum; Jeff Lynch, Longwood Gardens; Charles Tubesing, Holden Arboretum; Wang Xianli, Cao Wei, Zhao Shuqing, and Zhong Linsheng, Shenyang Institute of Applied Ecology ; Sheng Ning, Nanjing Botanical Garden; and Sun Long Xing, Changbai Xian Forestry Department.

Additional Resources

Del Tredici, Peter “Capturing and Cultivating Chosenia” Arnoldia 63:3 2010. [pdf]

Meyer, Paul W. “Manchurian Fir Abies holophylla” Arnoldia 68:2 2010. [pdf]

“Traveling in China” Arnoldia 68:2 2010. [pdf]