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Subject: South Korea: New names chosen for native plants

Written By: Philip Eno on 08/13/15 at 8:19 am

South Korea has set about changing the English names of thousands of native plants.

While all plants have internationally recognised scientific names, their everyday descriptions can vary by country. The Korea Forest Service says it has identified more than 4,000 plants that it wants to rename, many of which include a reference to the peninsula's former colonial ruler, Japan. The changes are being made to mark the 70th anniversary of Korean independence, the Korea Herald reports. Some of the plants already assigned new English names include the Japanese flowering cherry, which becomes the oriental flowering cherry, and the Japanese red pine, which is now the Korean red pine.

"The review process to rename our native plants is very important," says the forest service's director general Lee You-mi. "Plant names do not only indicate what they are called but also symbolise the culture and history of the people." Japan's colonial rule over the Korean peninsula lasted from 1910 to 1945, and during that time Koreans were pressured to adopt Japanese names.

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