Aster tataricus L.f. & barbed wire fenceDMZ Botanic Garden
The DMZ area (including the adjacent areas such as the DMZ, the areas north of the "CCL," and the "border area," according to the Border Area Support Act) has become a "new world ecosystem" and an "ecological treasury" through healing its own wounds without human intervention for over 70 years.
Landscape of DMZ 11DMZ Botanic Garden
Naturally, rare plants that are difficult to grow in other natural environments have also made the DMZ area their home. The representative rare plants inhabiting the DMZ area, which have been found through site surveys for many years by researchers at the National DMZ Native Botanic Garden, are introduced for each of the 10 regions.
Inje-gun is located in the northern Yeongseo area around the Baekdudaegan, in the central part of Gangwon-do. Inje is an inland mountainous region, with a continental climate characterized by a large temperature difference between summer and winter, as well as a large diurnal temperature range. It also comprises approximately 20 high and steep mountains with altitudes of 800 m or higher; moreover, more than 90% of the total land is covered by forests.
Rare plants inhabiting the DMZ in Inje-gun. From the left, Swertia wilfordii (A.Kern.)Kom., which is more beautiful up close, and Menyanthes trifoliata L., under threat in its native habitat.
Yanggu-gun is a region located in the center of the northeastern region of South Korea. It is an area with high mountains where private access is restricted, making it a stable habitat for wild animals and plants. Considering the entire peninsula, including the islands, as the national territory and taking the four poles of east, west, north, and south, the intersection of the central meridian and the central parallel is in Dochon-ri village, Nam-myeon, Yanggu-gun, Gangwon-do; this can be said to be the center of Korean territory.
Rare plants inhabiting the DMZ in Yanggu-gun: Sophora koreensis Nakai, a rare plant of the Korean Peninsula that is distributed only in the Yanggu-gun area; Hanabusaya asiatica Nakai, with its name reminding Koreans of their painful history; and Salvia chanryoenica Nakai, the salvia of Korea.
Hwacheon-gun is located in the central mountainous region in the inland of the Korean Peninsula, with a continental climate of characteristic of the inland mountainous region. Hwacheon-gun is a mountainous region, with 85.2% of it comprising mountains. In the west, the Hanbuk-Jeongmaek extends from northeast to southwest, and in the east, the mountains of the Baekdudaegan are irregularly distributed, forming a rugged alpine zone. It is a mountainous region with steep mountains and deep valleys.
Rare plants inhabiting the DMZ in Hwacheon-gun: Megaleranthis saniculifolia Ohwi, which guards the DMZ beyond the Modemi Valley of Mount Jirisan; Scopolia parviflora (Dunn) Nakai, a famous medicinal and poisonous herb; and Anemone koraiensis Nakai, the anemone of Korea.
There are high peaks of around 1,000 m in the northeast of Cheorwon-gun, located near the center of the Korean Peninsula, but the central and southwestern regions are relatively hilly and contain plains. The Cheorwon Plain contains the largest granary in the CCL and is also a world-famous habitat for migratory birds. To the east of Cheorwon Plain, the Hantan River and Gimhwanamdaecheon Stream, which descend from Pyeonggang-gun, Gangwon-do, penetrate the DMZ from north to south, creating a wide wetland plain while flowing through the center of Cheorwon-gun.
Rare plants inhabiting the DMZ in Cheorwon-gun: Penthorum chinense Pursh, the guard of the abandoned paddy; and Epimedium koreanum Nakai, known for its medicinal efficacy.
Goseong-gun is located in the northeastern part of Gangwon-do, and belongs to the Yeongdong region, where the Baekdudaegan in the west extends a long distance in the southeast direction. In winter, it is relatively warm as it belongs to the Yeongdong region, unlike the Yeongseo region, which is notorious for its frigid weather. While heatwaves continue in Yeongseo in the summer, Goseong is cooler than the Yeongseo region owing to the influence of the oceanic climate.
Rare plants inhabiting the DMZ in Goseong-gun: Actaea bifida (Nakai) J.Compton, which has three leaves with excellent medicinal efficacy; and Scorzonera albicaulis Bunge, which must have come a long way from the Mediterranean coast to Goseong
Yeoncheon-gun is a region located in the northernmost part of Gyeonggi-do. Between the high mountains in the east and the relatively low mountains in the west, there is a flat plain. Yeoncheon-gun is an area affected by volcanic activity; it is located on the lava plateau along the waterway where the Imjin River and its main tributary, the Hantan River, meet. The fertile lava fields are used as paddy fields today. The area near the CCL along the Imjin River is attracting attention as a wintering site for Grus japonensis, an endangered species worldwide.
Rare plants inhabiting the DMZ in Yeoncheon-gun: Epimedium koreanum Nakai, characterized by three branches with nine leaves; and Senecio argunensis Turcz., with leaves resembling those of mugwort and a plant body resembling that of ragwort.
Rare plants inhabiting the DMZ in Paju-si: Nepeta cataria L., a mint loved by cats; Iris ensata var. spontanea (Makino) Nakai, which is not to be mistaken as a regular iris; and Sparganium erectum L., which has excellent water purification ability.
Rare plants inhabiting the DMZ in Gimpo-si: Phacelurus latifolius (Steud.) Ohwi, a rare plant that grows along with reeds on the seashore; and Aristolochia contorta Bunge, a habitat for the dragon swallowtail Sericinus montela.
Rare plants inhabiting the DMZ in Ganghwa-gun: Thalictrum simlex var. brevipes H. Hara, which is more beautiful up close; and Wikstroemia trichotoma (Thunb.) Makino, a raw material used for paper.
Ongjin-gun, an area that includes the five islands of Yeonpyeong-do, Soyeonpyeong-do, Baengnyeong-do, Daecheong-do, and Socheong-do, is located in the midwestern sea of Korea and the adjacent waters. It is a major migration route for migratory birds along the west coast, and is a place where many endangered bird species, such as Ciconia boyciana, Platalea minor, Egretta eulophotes, and Haliaeetus albicilla, are observed. Baengnyeong-do is the southernmost habitat of Phoca largha and is also an area where southern and northern plants coexist under the influence of the ocean currents.
Rare plants inhabiting the DMZ in Ongjin-gun: Iris dichotoma Pall., the iris of the five islands in the west sea; Koelreuteria paniculata Laxm., with flowers that fall like yellow rain when withered; and Amsonia elliptica (Thunb.) Roem. & Schult., which resembles a blue star on the ground.
Take a tour of the DMZ Botanic Garden—dedicated to the research and conservation of plants in the DMZ area—including the Rare and Endemic Plant Garden, here.