(My-Kee-Lee-Uh) Mychelia compressa is a relatively small evergreen, and researchers recently discovered the largest colony of the trees in the country here on the island. Mike Balfour has more.
Hallasan Mountain - 500 meters above sea level
On the slopes of the mountain is a stand of leafy evergreen trees.
They are Michelia Compressa or (초령목) Choryeongmok, of the evergreen magnolia family.
The Korean name means “calling divine spirit”.
Michelia compressa on IUCN Red List
The species is included among the Red List of Threatened Species put out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN.
Michelia compressa colony discovered on Halla
Researchers just recently found what is the largest known colony of the endangered plant on the slopes of Halla Mountain.
Last year, the Temperate and Subtropical Zone Research Center of the National Institute of Forest Science found a Michelia Compressa tree that was the tallest recorded in Korea. It then carried out further research around that area.
Previously it had been thought only three trees of the species were growing in Korea.
This time, 26 trees were discovered on the mountain.
26 trees ranging in age from 3 to 55 years
Among them are large trees exceeding 50 years and some 50 centimeter plants aged 3 years.
Hyeon Hwa-ja / Researcher, National Institute of Forest Science
This discovery proves that the colony is able to reproduce. This is an important area to study the native habitat of the species and the trees, themselves.
<인터뷰 : 현화자 / 국립산림과학원 연구사>
"이렇게 집단 자생지가 발견됐다는 것은 자연스레 스스로 번식할 수 있는 능력이 있다는 것이 검증된 것이고요. 또, 국내에서 초령목 자생지에 대한 생태적 특성이나 식물 자체에 대한 연구를 하는데 중요한 장소가 되는 의미가 있습니다."
The researchers will conduct a location based in-depth inspection to find more Michelia Compressa trees that may grow on the island.
[Reporter] Mike Balfour
[Camera] Hyeon Gwang-hoon
The team is also planning to have the area designated as a forest genetic resource sanctuary.
Mike Balfour, KCTV