August 15, 2013 08:16
It is growing increasingly difficult to find Korea's national flower mugunghwa or rose of Sharon here. The Chosun Ilbo asked 200 people when they had last seen the flower, and 62 percent said they do not remember.
Only 18.5 percent said they saw it less than a week ago, while 19.5 percent said within the last month. "I only saw the mugunghwa in textbooks when I was a student but rarely in reality," said a university student.
The mugunghwa is also dropping in rank among people's favorite flower. The most popular flower is the rose (41 people), followed by the cherry blossom (16). Only 14 of the 200 people surveyed said they liked the mugunghwa best.
Some people wondered why such an "elusive" plant was chosen as the national flower. Among those surveyed, 27 percent said the rarity of the mugunghwa in their neighborhood is the main reason they see no good reason why it should be the national flower.
The Japanese, by contrast, remain committed to their cherry blossom or sakura. Japanese broadcaster NHK surveyed 3,600 Japanese in 2008 and 66 percent chose the cherry blossom as their favorite flower and 63 percent the cherry tree as their favorite tree.
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