|Cultivar group||Tuberhybrida Group|
Kimjongilia is a flower named after the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. It is a hybrid cultivar of tuberous begonia, registered as Begonia × tuberhybrida 'Kimjongilhwa'. When Kim Jong-il died in December 2011 the flower was used to adorn his corpse for public display. Despite its name, the Kimjongilia is not the official national flower of North Korea, which is the Magnolia sieboldii. Another flower, Kimilsungia, is an orchid cultivar named after Kim Jong-il's father and predecessor, Kim Il-sung.
To commemorate Kim Jong-il's 46th birthday in 1988, Japanese botanist Kamo Mototeru cultivated a new perennial begonia named "kimjongilia" (literally, "flower of Kim Jong-il"), representing the Juche revolutionary cause of the Dear Leader. It was presented as a "token of friendship between Korea and Japan". The flower symbolizes wisdom, love, justice and peace. It is designed to bloom every year on Kim Jong-il's birthday, February 16.
The flower has been cultivated to bloom around the Day of the Shining Star, Kim Jong-il's birthday, 16 February. According to the Korean Central News Agency, a preservation agent had been developed that would allow the flower to keep in bloom for longer periods of time.
A song composed by several North Korean composers, also called "Kimjongilia", was written about the flower:
The red flowers that are blossoming over our land
Are like hearts: full of love for the leader
Our hearts follow the young buds of Kimjongilia
Oh! The flower of our loyalty!
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- Lankov, Andrey Nikolaevich (2007). North of the DMZ: Essays on Daily Life in North Korea. McFarland. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-7864-2839-7. OCLC 1023223619.
- Ford, Glyn; Kwon, Soyoung (2008). North Korea on the brink: struggle for survival. Pluto Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-7453-2598-9.
- Birthday of Kim Jong-Il. Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary (Fourth ed.). Omnigraphics. 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2017 – via TheFreeDictionary.com.
- "Agent for Preserving Kimjongilia Developed", KCNA, October 21, 2008.
- Lanʹkov, 2007, p. 22.
- Choe Song Hak; Kim In Il, eds. (2007). Kimjongilia (PDF). Plant in Full Bloom. 1. Translated by Kim Kun Hui. National Institute for Standardization. OCLC 837310890.
- Pak Ryong Ung; et al. (2011). Thak Song Il; et al. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Kimjongilia (PDF). Translated by An Jong Ho; Kim Myong Chan; Kim Il Gwang; Ko Chang Bong; Choe Yong Bom; Kim Pyol Song. Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House. ISBN 978-9946-0-0668-0.
- Pang Hwan Ju; An Chol Gang, eds. (1998). Kimjongilia – The King Flower has Appeared and Spread Abroad (PDF). Translated by Choe Ki Ju; An Jong Ho. Foreign Languages Publishing House. OCLC 870900826.
- Woodard, D. (2005). "Beautiful Kimjongilia". Der Freund. Axel Springer AG. 3.
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