By CANG WEI in Nanjing
Tang Jing sells yellow “roses”, wrapping them in bunches in green paper and colorful rib bons. If you don’t look closely, you may not notice that they are actually cabbages.
Such cabbages have been popular gifts in Jiangsu prov ince since they appeared on the market before Spring Festi val, which began shortly after Valentine’s Day this year. Each cabbage sells for 8 to 10 yuan ($1.301.60).
Tang, the manager of Kun shan Yuye Vegetable Planting Base, which is supervised by Nanjing Agricultural Univer sity, said the “roses” can be purchased only in winter because they take on their beautiful bright yellow color only during cold days.
Her base is producing more cabbage “roses” for the upcom ing Lantern Festival, which falls on March 2 this year.
“It takes four months for the cabbage to grow and show its color,” Tang said. “Due to limitations of transportation, most of our customers are from Jiangsu province.”
Hou Xilin, a professor of gardening at Nanjing Agricultural University, has spent 13 years researching the cabbage with his team.
“Unlike other yellow cab bages, our cabbage has the exact color and shape of yel low rose petals. The cabbage is not genetically modified, but gained its characteristics through generations of hybrid ization and selfpollination.”
“The ‘roses’ are very nutri tious,” Hou said. “They have three times more vitamin C than common cabbages. About 100 grams of the ‘roses’ contains 156 mg of vitamin C.”
He said the cabbage can resist low temperatures and its vitamin Ccont rises and yellow color becomes
brighter as the temperature drops.
“We are now researching equipment that will allow people to grow the ‘roses’ on their balconies. An experi ment on my own balcony has proved fruitful. About 100 such sets of equipment will be tried out for feedback.”
He said that the fibrous organic material used to grow the cabbage contains no pes ticides or worm eggs. After harvesting the cabbage, that material is recycled by his team
Kang Hai, 23, a resident of Kunshan, Jiangsu, bought a bunch of the cabbages for his girlfriend. He said: “If she doesn’t like them, I can eat them up.”