Hi I was wondering how it would be possible to have someone that knows someone that knows someone that knows someone (ok you get the point) in China or Russia that is an expert in local plants. Specifically the parts of China and Russia that match my hardiness zone in Quebec Canada (4b CAN). In this type of climate there is already a lot of plants we can grow, but less than in the tropics because of the harsh winters so it would be nice to add some nifty varieties to my gardens (making sure they are not crazy invasive also before introducing them). But just the language barrier and the distance would make this very hard. I know we already have some plants that are sold in nurseries that come from these countries, but I am still discovering obscure/less known plants here in Quebec, so for sure there are a lot of uncommon wild plants in China and Russia that we have never heard about and could be useful/edible/medicinal.
What are your thoughts on this?
mmkay, i am coming from this from the other side-- I am a north american who moved out into the world and am usually looking for resources to plant the plants "from home" in my own zone here in south america, but I have been there and done that!! I also research for a living so I hope my ideas will be helpful for you.
Once you have the zones sorted, you can identify cities in these zones. My suggestion to you, from my experience hanging with the plant folks here, is twofold:
1- look at social media, search for those cities and "plants" (or agriculture, or garden, depending on what success you're getting) in Russian. Also, search for those cities and 'slow food', since in areas where interest in heritage crops and stuff is just starting, the food and the plant people tend to overlap and they may be able to point you in the right direction. Join the groups and just ask your question in English, people tend to want to help.
2- for China, since searchable social media (esp facebook) is blocked there, my advice for you is something you could also do with Russia-- look for universities in those cities and get the contact for the botany/plant science/agronomy department (if they are small cities, agronomy might be the best you'll be able to do).
Extra bonus- look for botanical gardens, even far, write them, and ask them who you could contact in those areas. For example- https://www.bgci.org/garden.php?id=335 It will take a while, but plant people tend to really like talking to other plant people.