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Nature You Meet in the Mountains: Flora & Fauna of Korea #2

Flora & Fauna of Korea #2 publishes a series of articles, “Nature You Meet in the Mountains,” about the peninsula’s mushrooms, insects, trees and herbs & flowers. This week, we bring you a dragonfly, another type of evergreen, an inedible mushroom and a perennial herb.



Name: 어리장수잠자리 (Eorijangsu jamjari)
Scientific Name: Sieboldius albardae Selys
Distribution: Korea, China, Japan

This dragonfly has an average body length of 55-63 millimeters and a wingspan of 45-53 millimeters. It has a relatively smaller head, compared to the whole body size. The parts of the head, including the face and back of the head, are all black. A pair of compound eyes is set apart from each other. The antenna tubercles, the clypeus, which connects the forelock to the upper lip, the upper and lower lips, thorax and lower part of jaw are all black while the upper part of the forehead is yellowish green. There are greenish yellow stripes at the center of the front of the thorax and three greenish yellow lines along the side of the thorax. The abdomen is also black. There are greenish yellow patterns in the middle of the first and second abdominal segments, and the front edge of each segment has a pair of greenish yellow patterns too. The upper tail is black and short, and has an elongated shape with the front tip rolled inward. This dragonfly has strong transparent wings. The wing veins are dark brown and have reddish brown patterns at the edge.

Ecology: The Sieboldius albardae can be observed from the end of May until September. Larvae are usually found around marshes and lakes.



Name: 구상나무 (Gusangnamu, Gusang Tree)
Scientific Name: Abies koreana E.H. Wilson
Type: evergreen with needles, very tall
Blooming season: May
Bearing season: September to October
Distribution: high mountains in northern parts of the peninsula

This endangered Korean fir grows to an average of 18 meters, usually in the high mountains. The bark is rough and grey-brown in color. The leaves develop a spiral shape, with each leaf variably twisted, growing from stems and branches. This tree is monoecious, meaning it has both male and female organs. It gives bloom to an oval-shaped male flower and a wine-colored female flower. It bears green-brown or purplish brown cone-shaped pine cones, or strobilus, which are its “fruit.”



Name: 갈색꽃구름버섯 (galsaekggotgureum beoseot, Brown Flower Cloud Mushroom)
Scientific Name: Stereum ostrea (Blume & T. Nees) Fr.
Type: Saprophile spore
Print: white

This mushroom grows on the dead wood of broad-leaved trees. It is a type of Phanerochaete chrysosporium. The fruit of the body is non-resupinate, meaning it’s bent forward, and it lives for just a year. The pileus is 1-5 centimeters wide and 0.5-1 millimeter thick. The shape of the pileus varies from semi-circular to circular. The surface has ring-streaked patterns in light gray, reddish brown or dark brown. It has a leathery texture and is covered by fine short “hairs.” It also has a brown hypodermis on the underside. The hymenium on the bottom of the cap is wide and flat with brown to yellowish brown coloring.


Herbs & Flowers

Name: 쇠뜨기 (Soeddeugi)
Scientific Name: Equisetum arvense L.
Full bloom: April to June
Distribution: fields and mountains

The name “soeddeugi” can be literally translated as “cows grazing on plants.” Cows love this herb and it has been used for eons as a medicine for humans, too.

This summer-green perennial, often called horsetail or snake grass, grows in dry or swampy spots in open field as long as there is good sunlight. Reproduction occurs via subterranean stems that stretch in all directions deep underground. The fertile spore-bearing stems start to grow early in the spring and produce snake head-like sporophydium at their tips. Each segment of the stem has some whorls of brown, scaly leaves. The green sterile stem is normally 30-40 centimeters high, with whorls of side shoots at each segment joint. The hexagonal sporophyls are clumped together to form the shape of a turtle’s shell.

*This series of article about Korea’s insects, trees, mushrooms and herbs & flowers has been made possible through the cooperation of the Korea National Arboretum.


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