The Kimilsungia is a type of orchid flower in North Korea. It was specially bred by an Indonesian botanist. It is named after Kim Il Sung, the founder and first leader of North Korea.
On a visit to Pyongyang, you can see the Kimilsungia flower on boards and paintings. This is particularly so in April during Day of the Sun Celebrations. The Day of the Sun is Kim Il Sung's birthday and remains one of the biggest national holidays in North Korea.
One day in April in 1965, Kim Il Sung went on a state visit to Indonesia and was shown the Bogor Botanical Garden. Kim Il Sung made a round of the botanical garden in company with the President of Indonesia. Halting before unusually beautiful orchids, he admired them and remarked that they were very beautiful. The director who was leading the pair around the gardens explained that they were a new variety grown by a botanist from Indonesia. He had had them flower for the first time especially for the visit of Kim Il Sung.
Kim Il Sung thanked the director for these wonderful flowers and congratulated the botanist upon his achievements in his research.
The Indonesian President took the opportunity to say to Kim Il Sung that he would like to name the flower after him. Kim Il Sung declined his proposal, stating that he had not done anything deserving such honour.
The Indonesian President would not take no for an answer and insisted that Kim Il Sung did indeed deserve such high honour. Kim Il Sung could decline no longer.
And so this unique breed of orchid became to be known as the Kimilsungia flower.
The Kimilsungia flower bears unusually beautiful flowers, attractive for their peculiar form and unique structure - resembling a butterfly.
The flowers are a bold, vibrant purple colour. Small and delicate in shape, but powerful in colour.
The stalk grows 30-60cm high and 1.2-1.8cm thick.
Between 5 and 10 leaves grow from the stalk, and variety in the leaves varies with the quantity of water absorbed.
The flower of the Kimilsungia is open for two to three months, and for 100 days at times.
After pollination, it begins to wither within 24 hours.
The Kimilsungia flower is a tropical herbaceous perennial belonging to genus Dendrobium of the orchid family. It is a new hybrid of wild species belonging to Dendrobium.
Kimilsungia, a plant of tropical origin, is grown in glasshouses in winter, spring, and autumn in the temperate and frigid zones.
The flower grows well in high temperature and high humidity, which varies with the stage of growth.
The best temperature is from 26 C - 28 C. Growth halts or slows down when the temperature is below 15 C or above 30 C.
The mean temperature of above 23 C is good in the stage of growth of flower stalks and blossom buds. After inflorescence, it is advisable to maintain a temperature between 16 C and 25 C. The appropriate relative humidity is 70-80%; 50-60% in winter.
The Kimilsungia flower does not require an abundance of light and grows well under diffused light. The plant likes fresh air and good ventilation is required if cultivating in a greenhouse.
The Kimilsungia Kimjongilia Flower Exhibition Hall is located in central Pyongyang, North Korea.
This is where you can see both the Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia flowers on display. Every year, it holds the Kimilsungia Kimjongilia Flower Exhibition.