The Blossoming of Early Summer

Hello to all of our loyal readers!

Despite recent bouts of heavy rain, Kamikochi is now enjoying a period of seasonal flowers unique to early summer. As I write, the Rhododendron japonicum is entering it’s seasonal peak adding vibrant splashes of color to the park:

Also easily spotted around Kamikochi is the Maianthemum. While the plant’s English name, “false lily of the valley” sounds unprepossessing, the Japanese name, yukizasa, is more evocative. The combination of the words yuki (snow) and sasa (bamboo grass) is a nod to the six pointed flower resembling a large snowflake on the end of a blade of bamboo grass.

The next item of interest is the south-east Asian Woodlander, known in Japanese as the rashoumon kazura (or Rashomon kudzu vine). The Rashomon included in the name refers neither to the famous Kurosawa Akira film nor the Akutagawa novel that inspired it. Instead, it’s a reference to the Heian period warlord Watanabe Tsuna’s legendary battle with a demon at Rashomon Gate.

Next, we turn our gaze to ezomurasaki or “wooland forget-me-not.” The Japanese name seems to combine the name of Japan’s historic Emishi people (remember them from Princess Mononoke?) and the color purple. Just don’t ask me why as I haven’t a Scooby…

Next is the tagasodesou (cerastium pauciflorum, or “mouse eared clickweed”). This latest in a list of esoterically named flowers takes its name from a passage in the ancient poetry tome, Manyoushuu, describing the scent of plum blossoms. (Again, not a Scooby…)

Our final entry in today’s post is the kijimushiro or potentilla frangarioides which Wikipedia tells me is a member of the rose family native to the far east. You can actually see this plant blooming for much of the spring, but due to its longevity it’s still visible now!

That concludes today’s forage among the flora of early to mid June. We hope you’ve found it as enlightening as we did. As usual, we owe a significant debt to the bloggers at Five Sense who posted the material on which the post was based. Thanks as always!

We’ll be back in the near future with more on the summer season in Kamikochi. Till then, be well and stay safe!

Sources of Information:

Nature Guide Five Sense, Kamikochi blog: