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Special> Video> Latest
UPDATED: April 29, 2014
Peng Liyuan’s 'Cathay' Tulip Debuts in Beijing

A new strain of tulip has made its debut at a flower show in a suburban area of Beijing. This purple tulip is called "Cathay".

It was named by Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, during her visit to the Netherlands last month.

Peng was invited to name the tulip on March 23 in the Netherlands, when she visited an exhibition with her husband, and Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. She also followed the Dutch tradition and poured a glass of champagne on the flower to bless it.

The new "Cathay" tulip is a strong and colourful flower that can be grown in a sustainable way.

The director of the company that cultivates the tulip says it was found 10 years ago, the only one of its kind among a field of purple tulips.

"'Cathay' is a unique type of parrot tulip. One of the major differences is that it has feathery leaf edges, and the petals are dark purple, which is quite rare to see," said the director of Apeldoorn Bloemballen Company, Jan-Karel Apeldoorn.

This special tulip has gained popularity in China, and Apeldoorn says he has been receiving orders from all over the country.

He says that although "Cathay" was bred 10 years ago, there are only about 10,000 "Cathay" seeds, most of which can only be used for breeding. He predicts that there are 2,000 - 3,000 seeds on the market.

"This special type of tulip only blooms outdoors in late April or early March in the Netherlands. Beijing is rather dry and less humid. It will be very difficult or impossible breed here, so we have three hundred tulips in cold storage at the International Flower Port, and they are being displayed in batches for visitors."

Although it is customary in the Netherlands to name new tulips after celebrities, Peng didn't name the tulip after herself. "Cathay" is the old name of China in the Netherlands. In Chinese it translates as Guotai, meaning "prosperous country".

According to Hua Liming, former Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands, Peng's choice of name shows the cultural differences between China and the Western world. There have been many tulips named after wives of heads of state, such as Barbara Bush, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton - three former U.S. first ladies.

(CNTV.cn April 27, 2014)


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