China's Plants and Distribution 


China has some of the greatest plant diversity of any country in the world. There are about 30,000 kinds of plants in China and it is ranked number 3 in the world for plant resources - second only to Malaysia and Brazil. In China, there are 106 families of moss, or 70 per cent of the world total, and 2,600 species of ferns. The number of woody plants totals 8,000 - 2,000 of which are trees.


Major plants of the frigid north, temperate and tropic vegetation zones are all found in China. The Metasequoia, Chinese Cypress, Cathay Silver Fir, China Fir, Golden Larch, Taiwan Fir, Fujian Cypress, Dove-tree, Eucommia and Camplotheca Acuminata are found only in China. The Metasequoia, a large deciduous conifer, was thought to be extinct until a grove was discovered in the 1940's in central China. The Golden Larch, one of only five species of rare garden trees in the world, grows in mountainous areas of the Yangtze River valley. Its coin-shaped leaves on short branches are green in spring and summer and turn yellow in autumn. China is home to more than 2,000 species of edible plants and over 3,000 species of medicinal plants. Ginseng from the Changbai Mountains, safflowers from Tibet, Chinese wolfberry from Ningxia and notoginseng from Yunnan and Guizhou are particularly well-known Chinese herbal medicines. China has a wide variety of flowering plants. The peony, known as the "king of flowers", is characterized by large blossoms, multiple petals and bright colors and is treasured as one of the country's favorite flowers.


Chinese forests are distributed according to the climate zones. From north to south, there are cold temperate zone coniferous forests, temperate coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forests, warm hardwood and coniferous forests, sub tropical broad-leaved evergreen/coniferous forests and tropical seasonal forests. These forests offer an unparalleled diversity of plant life and have far-reaching importance for the entire world.