Life in China: A Picture A Day, March 18, 2016

 Since I enjoy learning about nature, I’ve loved that our housing/garden has ID information on many of the plants and trees. There are large (about 6 x 8 inch) QR codes to scan, and although the info is all in Chinese, the scientific name is included. I use that to search online and find out what things are. This morning, I saw flowers which I thought I recognized on this tree pictured, but I had never seen one so big. By scanning the ID, I was able to confirm what I thought it was. The tiny flowers of osmanthus fragrans, 桂花, guìhuā, or sweet osmanthus, are used for their scent and flavor in China. Osmanthus tea is very popular and the flowers are also used for osmanthus wine, jam, sweet cakes, soups and dumplings. Flowers for tea are typically yellow like the ones pictured here which I photographed on a past trip to Hangzhou, but they can also be white like the ones here in Songshan Lake.