The Luosuo River, a branch of the Lancangjiang River, lies in the Mengla Basin. In the Menglun area, it flows into a gourd-shaped course, surrounding a piece of land which is named the Calabash Island (Huludao in Chinese). With three sides facing water the island is connected with Menglun Town by a suspending bridge in the east and with Mengla Road by a highway bridge in the south. In 1959, when Yunnan Tropical Plant Research Institute of the China’s Academy of Science was founded by Cai Xitao, a famous botanist in China, the fame of the Gourd Island was known broadly.
With a fertile land of 15,000 Chinese acres, the Calabash Island is home to 1,500 kinds of tropical plants. Visitors can try the Mysterious Fruit that turns from sour to sweet; they can also have a look at Maytenin that can kill cancers. There are many wild species, for example, the killer of plants, a parasite that will kill its host; King Lotus (Royal Water Lily), which can bear a 20-kilogram child; Anthocehalus that can grow ten times faster than the pine tree; Southeast Dracaena that can help promote blood circulation and remove blood stasis, and black rosewood that is worth USD3,000 per ton. No wonder when people look on Xishuangbanna as a green gem, they do not forget to refer to the Botanical Garden as the highlight of the gem.