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Vegetation and flora of Hibiscus hamabo inhabited naturally in Soan Island

  • Ahn, Young-Hee (Division of Biological Science and Resources, Chung-Ang University) ;
  • Chung, Kyu-Hwan (Division of Biological Science and Resources, Chung-Ang University) ;
  • Park, Hee-Seung (Division of Biological Science and Resources, Chung-Ang University)
  • Published : 2003.11.01

Abstract

Hibiscus hamabo, called "Hwang-geun", growing about 3m in height is a deciduous shrub or subtree of Malvaceae. Because the number of these species is very limited in the world, the Ministry of Environment has designated H. hamabo as a preserved plant. The Korea Forest Service also protects it strictly by law since H. hamabo is an out-of-the-way plant and possibly may be exterminated soon in Korea. Investigation for distribution and ecological characteristics of the habitat for H. hamabo was carried out on Soan Island. Two wild H. hamabo were found at the forest edge (equation omitted) along the sea coast located in the southern part of Soan Island and this was the first report in the Korean academic world. These two wild H. hamabos were growing in a naturally inhibited area. The diameters at the base were 12cm and 15cm. The Tree heights were 150cm and 210cm and the number of branches of each wild H. hamabo was 4 and 7. However, the present condition of these plants was not good. Environmental conditions of the naturally inhibited area of H. hamabo were very mild because it is located at the edge of the forest and is always sunny during the daytime since the slope of the inhibited area is facing South. The ground drained very well since the soil was made of gravels and sand. Because the percent of vegetation of the subtree layer where H. hamabo was growing was 40%, the cover degree and sociability of flex crenata trees and Eurya japonica were found to be high. In the naturally inhibited area of H. hamabo, a dominant value of Rubus parvifolius in the lower part of the herb layer was very high and many plants in Compositae, such as Artemisia princeps var. orientalis and Erigeron annuus, were also present. A dominant value of liana, such as Vitis thunbergii var. sinuata, Rosa multiflora, Clematis terniflora and Hedera rhombea, and Gramineae plants that rhizomes were well developed and aggressively propagated, such as Miscanthus sinensis var. purpurascens, Phragmites communis, Spodiopogon cotulifer and Oplismenus undulatifolius which were surveyed as high, too. These results imply that H. hamabo might be exterminated soon through a natural selection if the proper management of the naturally inhibited area of H. hamabo is not conducted continually.

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