Wild Taiwan

A lady of leisure writes about wildlife in Taiwan.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Mount Chihsing at Yangmingshan 陽明山的七星山

In late April, I took a trip to Yangmingshan. It was the most interesting trip I've ever had. While I was at xiaoyoukeng, the area which was still spouting steam and hydrogen sulphide, I overheard a volunteer guide telling the school children about the fumaroles. What appeared to be a crater was not really a crater, it was so because of high temperature steam (over 90%), CO2 and H2S bursting out from the ground causing fissures and cracks and through the years appear like a giant crater. Pictures of these and the surrounding areas are in these links:

Due to volcanic activities that are still ongoing, new fumaroles appear and while I hiked up to Mount Chihsing, I can see new fumaroles forming.

In the visitor centre


I could see a model of the surrounding mountains that made up Tatun range. There were also display panels, books about the flora and fauna within Yangmingshan. Various rock samples were also shown to indicate how rocks changed due to the action of high temperature, erosion and new mineral deposits formed from the action acidic steam.

Plants that can be seen in xiaoyoukeng are in the following links: http://www.ymsnp.gov.tw/web/suk3b_1.aspx?p=suk&f=data_file/plant93/flower93_07.htm
Worthy of mention is the Prunella vulgaris. This plant in Mandarin means wilt in the summer. The dried floral parts have excellent detox function. It can be found in Chinese medicine shop sold in dried form. Boiled in water with some brown sugar to taste is effective against acne, general heatiness.

I was told that there used to be lots of waterbuffaloes roaming around at Qingtiankang, the grassy meadows however, there was a court case whereby a father put his young son on the buffalo calf as it was cute and he wanted to take a picture. However, the cow wasn't happy so she rammed her horns into the father. The father sued yangmingshan park authorities and won so many of the buffaloes had to be reined in and kept elsewhere away from the public.

From xiaoyoukeng, I climbed up the fairly steep rock steps to the peak. Up there, thousands of yellow moths Eilema costipuncta were flying about. What a sight!


They had no qualms on landing on clothing, hand etc. Some were resting on the ground but they were in danger of being stepped upon by hikers and many succumbed.

Along the way, there were many 麗紋石龍子 Five-striped Blue-tailed Skink (Eumeces elegans) http://www.ymsnp.gov.tw/web/webpage.aspx?f=data_file/animal93/animal93_d3-336.htm and other species of skinks.

It took me about an hour to clim up to Chihsing peak. From there, a few minutes to the east peak and then down, down, down to the Chihsing park and to the visitor centre. From the peak to the bus terminus, I took about 2.5 hours of meandering and detouring to the visitor centre.

From the peak to chihsing park were some trees and lots of bamboos and grasses. From the park onwards were lowland forests.

The visitor centre was small but very well done. It showed slideshows with commentaries of wildlife in the grassy, aquatic and highland areas. Some of the insects were placed in an erect stand which was an interesting way of displaying. The floor was made of glass. It was a bit too dark though.