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UPDATED: June 27, 2011 NO. 26 JUNE 30, 2011
Exploring the Charm of Nature
The Greenhouse at the 2011 Xi'an International Horticultural Exposition displays various fauna and flora from different climate zones

GROWING IN SAND: Different types of cacti are on show in the psammophyte zone of the Greenhouse (CFP)

Situated at the southern part of the 2011 Xi'an International Horticultural Exposition (IHE), the Greenhouse pavilion is one of the hottest and most recommended spots in the expo park. It is one of the four landmarks of the 2011 Expo in Xi'an.

"I personally think the Greenhouse is the worthiest site to see in the expo park," said Dong Wenjing, a tourist from Gansu Province who came to Xi'an especially for the expo. "In the Greenhouse I saw various kinds of plants and animals I love very much."

"It's all about uncovering and exploiting the mystery and charm of nature and I took a lot of pictures in the Greenhouse. They are all very beautiful. I enjoyed it very much," Dong said.

"This is my second stop at the expo," said Wang Mian, a junior at the Northwest University of Politics and Law in Xi'an. "It's great fun here with all these kinds of plants and animals. I realized nature is amazing after visiting the Greenhouse."

The Greenhouse is built on rises with perfectly matched topography, which ensures the beautiful scenery of the nearby lake and the opposite garden can be enjoyed from various levels in the pavilion.

The Greenhouse showcases plants and eco-landscapes from different regions of various climates around the world. The pavilion is divided into several areas: a zone for tropical plants, a zone for psammophytes, and a zone for rare plants and animals.

Tropical zone

Dubbed the "Lungs of the planet," the tropical zone is important to the Earth as it provides all living things on the planet with a large amount of oxygen and rich natural resources. It is also the most biodiversity-abundant area on the Earth.

Rainforest is the key element of the tropical zone area. Rainforest refers to luxuriant forest spreading on perennially warm and moist equator lowlands. These areas have high temperatures and huge rainfall all year round, without remarkable seasonal distinction and without annual precipitation over 2,000 mm; and relative humidity above 90 percent.

Using the story of human beings with rainforest and other living beings as a guide, the zone area vividly brings visitors to a romantic tropical rainforest. It demonstrates the features of plants in the rainforest, such as their special leaf and root structures. A fragrant area for butterflies is also in the zone, displaying the plants that butterflies enjoy. There are also a tropical fruit area, where visitors can appraise sources of fruit while enjoying the beautiful scenery, and a flower culture area, where various typical tropical flowers.

Psammophyte zone

Growing for a long time in stern climates of sandstorms, rain shortages and big temperature differences, psammophytes such as different kinds of cacti, adapt well to harsh environments and grow into various unique shapes.

By creating an environment fit for psammophyte, this zone displays special features of plants in tropical arid regions.

Rare plant and animal zone

There are a large number of rare plants in the tropical and south subtropical areas. This zone uses these rare plants as its main displays. Also of interest are the colorful pineapples, which show visitors a fantastic and splendid kingdom of plants.

Insects are an important part of the display. The display board in the insect section shows human beings have lived on the Earth for only millions of years, while insects have lived on the Earth for nearly 400 million years, which outnumbers the total of all other animals. Samples of insects, such as colorful butterflies, are on show.

Also, there is a special section in the Greenhouse which showcases rare animals in the rainforest, such as types of frogs and snakes.

Besides these real animals, four simulations are displayed in the Greenhouse: a lizard, a mantis, a raptor and a spider. The lizard, for example, looks quite huge at 4 meters long and 2 meters high. The biggest feature of this giant lizard is that it enables active interaction with visitors. Once visitors push a button on the control platform, the lizard will attack a simulated bee stuck to its body.

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