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Plant specialist's passion still flowers

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-18 05:49

Himalacodon dicentrifolius, which is a perennial and grows primarily in the temperate biome. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Beijing honors botanist for outstanding work in often-dangerous circumstances, Yang Feiyue reports.

Wang Qiang's dark skin and weather-beaten face quickly conveys his sometimes-extreme experiences, on the road and out of doors.

Right after taking a short break for the New Year's holiday in early January, Wang has already taken trips to the United Kingdom and Kenya, each for about half a month, to study plant specimens.

"Those countries preserve records of plants that existed more than a century ago, which are crucial for botanical studies," says Wang, a professor at the Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

Meconopsis horridula, the prickly blue poppy, is an endangered species that grows in high altitudes. [Photo provided to China Daily]

For Wang, who is originally from Sichuan province, being on the road has come with the territory since he chose to pursue his PhD at the Beijing institute in 2008. He has focused on plant taxonomy, which has widely been considered by the academic circle as the most challenging, fundamental and crucial studies in the field.

The two recent overseas trips might seem like a breeze to Wang, considering how he has spent more than a decade trekking to the depths of the snow mountains on the treacherously rugged plateau, searching for rare plant species in harsh environments around the Himalayas.

To date, he has collected over 100,000 valuable plant specimens and more than 200,000 related images.

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