Asia is a land of legends. Imbibing so many fascinating tales, it is home to beliefs and miracle and one such miracle is Youtan Poluo.
Nobody had seen this “legendary flower,” which is said to blossom only once in 3000 years with its details mostly mentioned in some ancient scriptures. But since the last few years, this mystical flower has made news globally when people spotted it blooming one after another in different parts of the world. This tiny beautiful flower is really hard to detect without a magnifying lens.
Udumbara flower (Youtan Poluo) which means an “auspicious flower from heaven” in Sanskrit language is resilient and known to bloom on any surface and an object such as metal, wood, etc. Botanists are still not able to find out if the plant is a moss or fungus. The Youtan Poluo measures just 1 mm in diameter and is known to emit mild yet noticeable sandalwood-like fragrance.
Mr. Ding, a farmer from China’s northeastern Liaoning Province, first discovered the udumbara flower in 2007, growing on some metal pipes in his garden, when a cluster of 38 flowers appeared. Again in 2007, many sightings of the udumbara occurred in Taiwan
“It’s a miracle! They are so tiny, it’s hard to detect them without a microscope, yet their fragrance fills the entire balcony,” said Taipei-based artist Chen Guodong, who found them blossoming at his home.
Then in 2010, there was that a Chinese nun, Miao Wei from Lushan mountain, discovered a cluster of the buds when she was cleaning under her washing machine. She thought at first they were lacewing eggs, but the following day they had blossomed into tiny white flowers and had a pleasant fragrance.
But the most interesting of all sightings is the phenomenon that appeared 20 years ago at Chonggye-sa Temple in Seoul, South Korea, in 1997, when the udumbara flowers blossomed on the Buddha statue’s forehead. The photos and videos of this occurrence made news all over the world. According to the chronicles in Buddhist scriptures, the year 1997 marked 3024 lunar years since Buddhism first emerged.
According to the ancient scriptures, the last time the flower was recorded was before the birth of the historic Gautama Buddha. The flower is said to symbolize immortality. It is also said that the rare flower is the symbol of reincarnation of none other than the royal king, Lord Buddha himself.
Many people have documented the rare occurrence, but there are also people who misunderstand and confuse Youtan Poluo with the eggs of lacewings that lay eggs in thread-like structures.
However, the difference between the two is very clear and simple. The insect eggs deteriorate and wither once the larvae hatch, but these mystical flowers do not decay for long periods of time.
Rather, they grow and bloom, eventually spreading their unique fragrance around.