Shanghai's Sheshan famed for sublime scent of its orchids

LMS| Updated: January 3, 2024


Sheshan National Forest Park is an immensely popular spot in Shanghai, where visitors can revel in glorious nature. [Photo/WeChat account: sheshanlvyoutopnews]

As the only mountain and forest area in East China's Shanghai, Sheshan is renowned for its beautiful natural landscape, rich history and culture, as well as its long-standing religious sites.

The eastern part of the mountain features a bamboo forest, which is famous for its bamboo shoots that boast the sublime scent of orchids.


The lush bamboo forest in East Sheshan Park. [Photo/WeChat account: sheshanlvyoutopnews]

According to records in the Songjiang Prefecture chronicles, when the Emperor Kangxi visited Songjiang in 1707 local officials hosted a banquet – including bamboo shoots, a specialty of Sheshan.

The story goes that when the emperor tasted them, he was delighted by their fresh and delicate taste and the faint fragrance of orchids.

After the emperor returned to the capital city, he inscribed a plaque with the three characters Lan Sun Mountain – which literally means "Mountain with orchid-smelling bamboo shoots" – and sent two imperial envoys to deliver it to Sheshan. Since then, Sheshan has also been known as Lan Sun Mountain.

Shenshan is also associated with many acclaimed literati including Chen Jiru, a leading scholar in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Xu Xiake, a Chinese geographer and travel writer during that period.

Chen lived in seclusion in Sheshan for a long time. He formed a deep bond with Xu. Xu visited Sheshan five times, four times to visit Chen. Xu's last four-year journey to the southwest started from Sheshan after seeing his dear friend.


A map shows the itinerary of Xu Xiake's last four-year journey to the southwest, which started from Sheshan. [Photo/WeChat account: sheshanlvyoutopnews]