A Splendid Mesona Flower Festival in Taiwan

A sculpture in the mesona fields.

The Taoyuan Mesona Flower Festival is held in northern Taiwan's Taoyuan City. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

Sponsored by the Taoyuan City Government’s Department of Agriculture, this unique Mesona Flower Festival has been held in Taoyuan City’s Yangmei District in northern Taiwan since 2019. The Festival this year takes place from Nov. 28 through Dec. 13, and is expected to attract more than 1 million visitors from across the country.

Please watch the following video of the 2020 Mesona Flower Festival in Taiwan.

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Objectives

The Mesona Flower Festival aims to boost local ecotourism and agricultural development after the Taoyuan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station successfully bred a new mesona flower variety called “Taoyuan No. 2.”

Some mesona plants were planted in curved lines to create the atmosphere of an artwork.
Some mesona plants were planted in curved lines to create the atmosphere of an artwork. (Image: Julia Fu via Nspirement)

Concept

The layout of this festival is designed based on the novel idea of paradise, to create a dreamlike mesona flower fantasyland that features miniature art installations in various locations. 

The mesona flower field in Taoyuan City's Yangmei District.
The mesona flower field in Taoyuan City’s Yangmei District. (Image: Julia Fu via Nspirement)

To hold this Flower Festival, all the Mesona plants were planted in an orderly manner — some in straight lines, others in curved lines — to make a ripple effect, and create the atmosphere of an artwork.

There are various miniature art installations displayed at the Mesona Flower Festival.
There are various miniature art installations displayed at the flower festival. (Image: Julia Fu via Nspirement)

Mesona exhibition

Covering an area of 5.8 hectares (14.3 acres), there are 125,000 Mesona plants displayed in the fields in Yangmei District. Visitors are allowed to enter some locations of the Mesona fields to take photos. Moreover, the organizer marked some photo spots according to flower condition, installation size, and the angle of view. It also offered fixed selfie sticks for visitors to take photos of themselves along with Mesona flowers and installation works.

The art installation for visitors to take photos at the mesona field.
The art installation for visitors to take photos at the mesona field. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

Other attractions

In addition to Mesona flowers, there are other fields featuring cosmos, lavender, and sunflowers. Those beautiful flowers are hot spots for photography, and have made the Mesona Festival even more colorful and enjoyable. 

There are other beautiful flowers exhibited at the Mesona Flower Festival.
There are other beautiful flowers exhibited at the Mesona Flower Festival. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

Besides the flower shows, there are also weekend events such as concerts, bands, other informative activities, and a fair selling agricultural products and local delicacies.

There are other fields featuring cosmos, lavender, and sunflowers at the flower festival.
There are other fields featuring cosmos, lavender, and sunflowers at the flower festival. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

Mesona Feast

Another highlight of the Mesona Flower Festival is the feast on December 6. It was organized by the Civil Affairs Office of Yangmei District at the plaza of the Yangmei Leisure Agriculture Area Visitor Service Center in the mesona field. 

One of the dishes at the Mesona Feast at the flower festival.
One of the dishes at the Mesona Feast at the flower festival. (Image: via Taoyuan City Government’s Department of Agriculture)

There were a total of 100 tables serving traditional Taiwanese dishes to 1,000 visitors. At the feast, Taoyuan City mayor and a famous Hakka cuisine chef also taught visitors how to cook mesona flower spare rib soup, and how to boil mesona flowers.

There is a fair selling local agricultural products and other delicacies at the flower festival.
There is a fair selling local agricultural products and other delicacies at the flower festival. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

Mesona

In Chinese, Mesona is referred to as “xiancao” (仙草, literal translation means “fairy grass.” Mesona is a plant in the mint family and it has a mild and slightly bitter taste. It is popular in southeast Asia, especially Taiwan, due to its effects on clearing heat and promoting diuresis. 

Mesona is the raw material for making Grass Jelly Drink, which is a delicious herbal tea with a great taste, and is especially loved by Hakka people in Taiwan.
Mesona is the raw material for making Grass Jelly Drink, which is a delicious herbal tea with a great taste, and is especially loved by Hakka people in Taiwan. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

In Taiwan, Mesona are mainly planted in some Hakka areas in the northern part of the island, such as Taiyuan and Hsinchu. But it was regarded as an insignificant secondary crop, and planted casually by farmers at the foot of orchard plants or beside vegetable fields.

The Mesona Flower Festival is the only one of its kind in the world, and it has become a popular festival in northern Taiwan.
The Mesona Flower Festival is the only one of its kind in the world, and it has become a popular festival in northern Taiwan. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

Economic value of mesona

Mesona can be boiled in water and consumed as a refreshing drink. After boiling for hours and cooling down, it can be made into a black jelly dessert. The grass jelly can be served with a bit of sugar water or cold milk. 

Grass jelly is a refreshing drink that is popular in Taiwan.
Grass jelly is a refreshing drink that is popular in Taiwan. (Image: via Wikimedia Commons)

It can also be served with other toppings such as bubble tea, fruit, or other drinks. Due to its special properties, Mesona has been processed into high-value-added instant nutritious dessert food. In Asian supermarkets, Mesona also comes in cans to facilitate people to consume it.

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