A beautiful pink sea flower grew along a beach in Hong Kong on Sunday, a year after its creator, a local sea breeze, washed ashore and took the plant to a new home.
The flower is named after Hong Kong’s only surviving sea breeze and it’s named for the city’s only purple sea breeze.
The pink sea breeze has been growing for more than 50 years, and its growth was slow until its arrival in Hong Kui in 2017, said Chris Liu, a sea breeze researcher at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).
“It’s a species that’s been growing in the city for at least 50 years,” he told Al Jazeera.
“It was not a rare sight because there were no other sea breeze species, so it just happened to be very special.”
Liu said sea breeze can be found all over Hong Kong and is a species not found in other areas of the city.
The purple sea florets are native to southern China, the Philippines and the South China Sea, Liu said.
Its flowering season starts in May and the flower takes about three years to mature, Liu explained.
The species is one of three purple sea flowers found in the world.
The other two are the purple sea grass and the purple seaweed.
The other purple seaflowers in the Hong Kong region are the sea breeze seaweed and the sea wind seaweed, Liu added.
Hong Kong is home to about 30 purple sea ferns, all native to the city, Liu told Al JA.
The researchers believe the purple floret species was introduced to the island in the late 1970s to counter the presence of invasive sea plants in the waters around Hong Kong.
The plant was a popular tourist attraction, but Liu said the city is still not fully convinced about its ability to control invasive species.
“Because there are so many invasive species, you can’t just destroy them,” he said.
“But it has shown us that it can control them and it can also control them.”
And so far, it has proven to be successful.