The Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz is not the only place where things can change colors. Starting on Monday, 300 potted chrysanthemums－a new Chinese breed with amazing color-changing properties－will be shown in Beijing as part of the upcoming National Day celebration.
Two varieties of the newly developed chrysanthemums will adorn themed floral terraces celebrating the Yangtze River economic zone and the country's overall development at the northeast and southeast corners of the Dongdan intersection (roughly where subway Line 5 meets Line 1).
The fancy color-changing chrysanthemums were selected from more than 40,000 varieties, and have been carefully nursed over the last four years, Beijing Youth Daily reported. One of the varieties, Xuanqiu Fenyun, or "pink flower in gorgeous autumn" in Chinese, will be in full bloom in the next four to five days. The flower can turn from light yellow to deeper yellow during the flowering season.
"Its florescence will last around one month," said Wang Zhongxuan, breeding engineer at Beijing Florascape Co, which is supporting the decoration work for the National Day. "The stamens will then discolor and turn white while the hue of the petals, by contrast, will become richer over time."
Wang said that photosynthesis and a breakdown of the chemical anthocyanin in the chrysanthemums are responsible for the fancy color-changing miracle.
"When the chrysanthemum emerges from the bud, the pigment concentration in the stamen is high, but it decreases as flowers enter full bloom, while anthocyanin in the petals increases over time, forming the rich colors of the petals."
Flower breeders staggered the flowering period in the development process to lengthen the season, and gave the flowers names reflecting seasons－such as Xuanqiu Fenyun, Wang said.
Work on the floral terrace arrangements will be carried out over the weekend and a grand flower will be shown to the audience on Monday.