The animal species that have been registered up to now amount to 8 465, of which 1 434 are vertebrates. Beast species number 97, birds 394, reptiles 27, amphibians 14, and fish 850. There are over 20 species of animals indigenous to Korea including Korean tiger, water-deer, white-bellied black woodpecker, fairy pitta, Eumeces coreensis, three-striped snake and Rana plancyi Lataste.
Korean tiger is bigger, swifter and more valiant than other subspecies and its fur is beautiful in pattern. It is 2.8m long and weighs 160-306kg and its tail is about 95cm long. The back is yellow maroon and the belly and the insides of the four legs are white. Over the forehead there is a dark pattern in the shape of Chinese character I, meaning king. There are 24 black stripes on the back and 5 on the belly and 8 stripe patterns on the tail. The tigers live in the northern mountainous areas of Korea, Northeast China and Primorsky of Russia.
There are 9 737 species of plants in Korea. Among them, seed plants are 3 299 species and spore-bearing plants 6 447 species. The flora is very diverse in the composition of species.
The major species of economic value amount to nearly 2 170-100 species of plants for timber production, 900 species of medicinal plants, 300 species of wild vegetables, 30 species of wild fruits, 160 species of plants for animal fodder, 60 species of aromatic plants, 50 species of oil-yielding plants, 170 species of honey-yielding plants, 100 species of plants for fibre production, and 300 species of plants for gardening.
There are over 800 species of indigenous plants including Pentactina rupico/a and Kumgangsania asiatica that are known as a single genus and single species to the world, plus their varieties.
There are also such rare plants as wild insam, Ganoderma, songi mushroom and bog bilberry.
Kaesong Koryo lnsam
World-renowned Kaesong Koryo insam has remarkable pharmaceutical efficacy for the special quality of soil, water and meteorological factors specific to the Kaesong area.
It contains some ten kinds of glucoside good for health and longevity, ethereal oil, different kinds of amino acids including organic acid, vitamins and an appropriate quantity of radium and microelements.
lnsam has omnipotent efficacy for many diseases as it protects five viscera and promotes metabolism by acting on the brain, afterbrain and the vascular system.
There is growing demand for it for its anti-radioactivity and anticancer action.
Hundreds of kinds of products are made of insam including decoction, essence, injection, nutrition tablets, wine, cream and toothpaste.
In particular, insam wine is so highly praised worldwide that it won gold medals several times at international events.
Ganoderma belongs to Polyporaceae. It is a mushroom with high medicinal efficacy. It contains 3.6% of steroid compound, 1.5% of flavonoid, 0.2% of glucoside, 0.8% of coumarin and 0.5% of alkaloid. Ganoderma is not only a good tonic, but also a cure for hypotension, nervous breakdown, hepatitis, neuralgia and arthritis.
It is the best among edible mushrooms of over 100 species growing in Korea and has been renowned for its aroma, flavour and nutritional value from olden times. The mushroom and its processed goods are in great demand in international market.
Bog Bilberry in Mt Paektu
It is massively found in the Mt Paektu area centring on Samjiyon County.
Its processed products, numbering dozens, are lovely in colour and very aromatic. Among them Paektusan Bog Bilberry Wine is famous.