Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fall flowers and other colors

I had the great opportunity to join a group of plant-lovers the other day. I hadn't appreciated what a treasured role Japanese plants play in Western horticulture, but now I feel really stimulated to learn all the species names and families as a way to connect with folks around the world!

Fall may bring red and gold leaves to mind, but there's quite a few flowers and fruits as well:

Pink: Near coastal towns, roadsides are overflowing with wild hibiscus. Since it's already November, I think this is Hibiscus makinoi (サキシマフロウ), but it could be mutabilis.

Yellow: My walk the other morning into the low, exterior mountains was also full of color. This is Yakushima and Tanegashima's endemic Ligularia Farfugium hiberniflorum (カンツワブキ).

Orange and ever-so-pale lavender and blue: The lower mountains are also home to Sarcandra glabra (left, センリョウ), an important plant for New Years; and the occasional Lasianthus fordii hance (middle/right, タシロルリミノキ), which is in the coffee family. I wonder if a hybrid could be created with blue coffee beans?

Purple and white: The endemic Tripterospermum distylum (left, ハナヤマツルリンドウ) and the endemic variety of Parnassia palustris (right, ヤクシマウメバチソウ) near Mt. Miyanoura.

Pure white:  Ainsliaea apiculata (キッコウハグマ) from the daisy family, which we passed on Mt. Eboshi last week.

Red: Winter strawberries, Rubus buergeri (left, フユイチゴ)and Japanese Rowan, Sorbus commixta (right, ナナカマド), which will have some lovely foliage as well as berries.

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