There are thousands of local types of flora in the Yangshuo region. Some are grown purposely for agriculture and some grow wild. They all play a vital role in the ecosystem and local economy for the farmers in the region. The Yangshuo Mountain Retreat asks kindly that you do not pick or damage any of the flora in the region. We are always proud to show our guests the beauty of our surroundings and with your help we can keep it beautiful for generations to come.
Bamboo is a group of woody perennial evergreen plants. In Yangshuo you can find giant bamboo, forming by far the largest members of the grass family. New shoots of some of the larger species can grow over 1 meter per day. They are of economic and high cultural significance in the Yangshuo region as a building material as well as a food source. There are 91 genera and about 1,000 species of bamboo but only a few species grow in Yangshuo.
Cotton is a soft, staple fiber that grows around the seeds of the cotton plant. The fiber most often is spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile, which is the most widely used natural-fiber cloth in clothing today. Our famous Yangshuo slippers that we have at the hotel are woven from local supplies of cotton. Cotton production in general is very efficient, in the sense that only ten percent or less of the weight is lost in subsequent processing to convert the raw cotton bolls (seed cases) into pure fiber. In the Yangshuo area you can see cotton growing in fields often between vegetables and rice.
The pomelo is native to Southeast Asia, and grows wild in the Yangshuo region. It may have been introduced into China around 100 B.C. Because of this limited production, pomelo typically sell for about 2 dollars a piece in the USA. In Yangshuo they tend to cost between 1 and 5 RMB a piece.
The pulp color ranges between a green and pale yellow and it tastes like a sweet, mild grapefruit - it has very little or none of the common grapefruit's bitterness, but the membrane of the segments is bitter and not very nice to eat. The peel is very thick and hard to penetrate but is also sometimes used to make marmalade and for cooking in certain dishes. In general, citrus peel is often used in southern Chinese cuisine for flavouring, especially in sweet soup desserts. It is the largest citrus fruit in the world, growing as large as 30 cm in diameter and one way to eat it is to remove the rind, then peel the segments to expose the flesh.
At the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat restaurant we offer stuffed pomelo when it is in season and in our Charity Shop we sell palmello honey.
Chestnut (Castanea) is the nut of the genus of eight or nine species of deciduous trees. China produces the most amounts of Chestnuts in the world. A specialty in the Yangshuo area is to open one side and roast them. In comparison to Western countries the chestnuts are not roasted until they are soft. They are eaten when they are still hard inside. Chestnut is also used as an ingredient in the local "zhong zi" – a sticky rice package steamed in leaves.
All of the animals mentioned here contribute to the delicately balanced food chain within the local ecosystem. Nature has an amazing gift at being able to finely tune herself, so please don't upset the natural balance of things, and help protect the environment by leaving the animals and insects in peace to do their very important tasks.
The domestic Yangshuo water buffalo is closely related to cattle, gaur, banteng and yaks. All its domestic varieties and breeds descend from one common ancestor, the wild Asian water buffalo, which is now an endangered species. Water Buffalos, are used as draft and dairy animals and can be often seen in Yangshuo pulling ploughs through the paddy.