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Aigul | Kyrgyzstan's Moon Flower

Deep in the south of Kyrgyzstan, in the region of Batken, there is a village, next to a mountain.  Every year, during the first two or three weeks of April, the orange-red blooms of aigul flowers shoot up and paint the mountain with their beauty.  Usually, there is a festival to mark their blooming, filled with celebrations and visitors that come to visit the rare flowers.

Moon Flower

Aigul is the Krygyz word for Fritillaria eduardii, a member of the lily family.  The name translates as "moon flower", or "flower of the moon".  There could be many reasons for this name, but the favored one has to do with an ancient story - a love story.

A girl named Aigul fell in love with a soldier, but the soldier left for combat and was killed.  He was brought back to the village and buried at the base of a nearby hill.  One night, Aigul, bereft in sorrow, climbed the hill and threw herself down. According to the legend, red flowers began to bloom a few days later, perhaps picking up their coloring from the blood of the young lovers.  Inside each bloom, small droplets nector are often referred to as "Aigul's Tears".


Indigenous to Batken, Fritillaria eduardii is listed in the Red Book of Endangered species.  Beautiful, and said to bring happiness, the flowers were too often picked and taken home.  Their usefulness in traditional medicine was also a cause in their over-harvest.  Now, the reproduction and bloom cycle is more understood, and disturbing the flowers in any way is considered an offense.  Once established in the earth, the bulbs require 7 years of energy collection before they can produce their first bloom.  After that, one bloom is added each year.  Observing the number of blooms on a flowering plant can therefore give you a good indication of its age.  

The orange, lily like aigul flower creates a cluster of bell-shaped flowers near the top of a tall stem

Ruby Mitchell

Online Content Editor @ White Leopard Travel

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