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Nature You Meet in the Mountains #11

Flora & Fauna of Korea #11

Korea.net publishes a series of articles, “Nature You Meet in the Mountains,” about the peninsula’s mushrooms, insects, trees and herbs & flowers.

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Insects

Name: 고추좀잠자리 Gochujomjamjari
Scientific name: Sympetrum depressiusculum (Selys)
Distribution: Korea, Japan, Siberia and Europe

This dragonfly is known as a “darter” in the UK and as a “meadowhawk” in North America. It has an average abdomen size of 20 to 26 millimeters and a wingspan of 23 to 32 millimeters. Newly hatched flies, both male and female, have a yellow thorax and an orange abdomen. The thorax starts to turn brown in autumn. The abdomen turns red all over on the males but only in the upper parts on the females. At a glance, it resembles a red dragonfly, but it has a slightly different pattern and colors on its abdomen. It does not have the saw tooth marks that a red dragonfly has developed.

Ecology: These large dragonflies begin to appear from June to July, traveling around the lowlands of rivers and swamps, and then move to higher altitudes. They can be normally seen in groups in the summer at mountain tops. As the temperature drops, they return to the lowlands and spawn around ponds and watersides. It is one of the most common types of dragonflies in Korea.

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Trees

Name: 측백나무 Cheukbaeknamu
Scientific name: Thuja orientalis L.
Type: evergreen with needles
Blooming season: April
Bearing season: September
Distribution: prevalent in Chungcheongbuk-do (North Chungcheong Province) and Gyeongsangbuk-do (North Gyeongsang Province)

This evergreen coniferous tree grows to 25 meters with a one-meter diameter. The bark is gray-brown and can be cracked lengthwise. The leaves are scale-like, 1-10 millimeters long and have some white dots at the tip. They look exactly the same and we cannot tell which is the front or the back. It is a monoecious tree. It gives bloom to a male flower at the tip of the twig that has ten squamas. The female flower is purplish brown. The tree bears an egg-shaped cone. The seeds, or pine cones, are blackish brown.

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Mushrooms

Name: 금빛진흙버섯 Geumbit jinheuk beoseot
Scientific name: Phellinus xeranticus (Berk.) Pegler
Type: saprophile spore
Print: brown
Inedible

This mushroom develops overlapped in clusters on stumps or dead broad-leaved trees. It causes a white rot on the hardwood. The fruit body is 3 to 10 millimeters in width, 2 to 5 millimeters thick, semi-circular in shape and non-resupinate. The surface is covered in short brown hairs and has a ring-streaked pattern. The edge of the pileus is thin and golden yellow in color. The tissue is thin, soft, coriaceous and is covered in a double layer. The underside is golden yellow at first and gradually turns to a yellowish brown. The tube is microscopic, normally only 2 to 3 millimeters deep.

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Herbs & Flowers

Name: 개여뀌 Gaeyeoggwi
Scientific name: Persicaria longiseta (Bruijn) Kitag.
Blooming season: June to September
Distribution: nationwide

This perennial grows to a height of 20 to 50 centimeters in mountains and open fields. The twigs are covered in fur. The leaves are lanceolate, alternating and have black dots. There is fur along the underside of the leaf vein. The stipule, small outgrowths at the base of a leafstalk, surrounds the merge-base of branches and the fur can be seen along the edges. It gives bloom to red or white spicate flowers that are densely clustered. The fruits are black brown.

Unlike the yeoggwi, which is a similar type of plant, the gaeyeoggwi has no spicy taste and is favored by cows.

*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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