|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 national flower of North Korea, which is the magnolia. 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.
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!
- "ABS Registered Begonias (G - O)". American Begonia Society. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
- "Succession in North Korea: Grief and fear", The Economist, December 31, 2011.
- "Magnolia", Korea Today Monthly Journal (issue 627, September 2008), cover inset.
- Chong, Bong-uk (1998). A Handbook on North Korea. Naewoe Press. p. 101.
- Lanʹkov, Andreĭ Nikolaevich (2007). North of the DMZ: essays on daily life in North Korea. McFarland. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-7864-2839-7.
- Ford, Glyn; Kwon, Soyoung (2008). North Korea on the brink: struggle for survival. Pluto Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-7453-2598-9.
- "Agent for Preserving Kimjongilia Developed", KCNA, October 21, 2008.
- Lanʹkov, 2007, p. 22.
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