Momiji: Acer palmatum

There are many scenes only in Japan having the four seasons, for example, mountains. In spring, colorful flower the bloome, green leaves sprout and photosynthesize by sunlight in summer, then change of leaves in autumn. The state is colored leaves and that main species is called Momiji(Maple). Maple usually turns red and the leaves have deep notches. But, Maple which we know commonly is not name of species; it means color change of leaves. Generally, maple is tree of Hiroshima Pref.

The tree which turns red:Acer palmatum

There are a lot of species of maples in Aceraceae Acer and Acer palmatum which is main species of broad-leaves deciduous forest, but Acer oblongum subsp. itoanum is an only evergreen as an exception. Ginkgo and Fagus are other species which colored leaves, so the color is not red but also yellow or brown. Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) is the most popular in Japan which has a height of there are 15m, the diameter of the trunk is more than 80cm. When colored leaves, many

Japanese maple which was used as decoration use is now seen anywhere in all over Japan, but the kind grow naturally prefer a low mountain above the sea level around 1,000m from the level ground.

The tree which turns red; examine is maple grow wild in the mountainous district of Fukushima Pref, southward. The place of the district in a high latitude belong to the subarctic zone is not suitable for the growth of the deciduous broad-leaved tree, conifers hold mostly there.

Mechanism of color change is very unique. Each ingredient is different as a colored leaved. At first, leaves of color are Green in summer because has Chlorophyll A, become cold and shorten hours of sunlight, chlorophylls A is resolves and make special tissue in joint of leaves. Next, Glucose, sucrose, amino acid; made in leaves, stored in itself, that is why new coloring matter is made from their sugar with photosynthesis, and then adjust the matter and male red or yellow color. Finally the leaves fall on the ground. In that, red colors of colored leaves is cause that chlorophyll change to anthocyanin, red from green, and yellow is change to carotenoid. But leaves that keep the original color, for example, purple color. Form of tree is various in Acer palmatum. For example, Japanese maple and Acer palmatum are become tall tree, their petal are very small.

Japanede meple was draw on Japanese old picture scrolls and cards, so it shows they are familiar to Japanese people. And maples are some 300 species from various breeding in Edo century.

Mokkoku: Japanese Cleyera

Mokkoku is Japanese name and scientific name is Ternstroemia gymnanthera (Wright et Arn.) Sprague. This tree is evergreen high tree and grows to average of 15 meters height,moreover it becomes max 18 meters.The leaf is thick and smooth,also it blooms a white flower.It ripes in autumn and produces a red seed. For that reason,another named akaminoki and is used by everyone.

It is classificated, Platae・Magnoliophyta・Magnoliopsida・Theales・Theaceae・Ternstroemia・T.gymnanthera. 

It is distributed over Japanese islands including the South-West islands,Korean Peninsula southern part,Taiwan,India via China in the world. It is also distributed from the South Kanto region westward to Okinawa in Japan.It grows in a forest near sea of warm place. 

Leaf of mokkoku is length 3~7 centimeter and looks like a rice spoon.We do not see most of the leaf veins of the back side.The leafstalk is tinged with a red,and a flower of the white blooms in about July.Then,the flower has two kinds of a bisexual flower and the male flower. A bisexual flower is a stamen of one fold surround the pistil in a ring. The other,A male flower has stamen of three folds in a ring,and there are a lot of numbers. 

Also,a calyx and a petal are pounding five pieces to a flower together, there are two pieces of small bracts in the floral design upper part.The fruit is global,and it is fleshy substance.In autumn,it becomes ripe and forms a red seed inside.The bark includes tannin,and it becomes the dye of the dark brown.this is used in various uses. Mokokku it is planted as a garden tree and it is used well.The wood is hard and it is beautiful, materials on dark reddish-brown that it is used for a building,appliance materials,a comb. In addition, it is used in folk medicine: we collect leaves and dry it, boil it and drink afterward. It is effective against renal disease and a liver disease. Conventionally, these were classified in camellia department. But,as a result of having examined a gene,we understood that we were little different from the group of the camellia.and Theaceae was made newly.

There is the tree of a natural monument appointed to designated cultural assets in city of Tosashimizu in is considered to be a sacred tree of God, and it is still kept as such. When it is a near place, the front gate of Kochi university enters and turns right. We can look in bicycle parking lot neighborhood.

Shyazikumo: Chara buraunii

There are very many creatures, amphibians, insects, microbes, water-weed and algae, in the common rice field in Japan. Do you know any other very similar to water-weed? The species name is Chara buraunii, and they are called “Charophyte” in English. Commonly algae shapes are a leaf like kelp, intertwined with a thin thread, single cells and so on, but the charophyte has an organ-like stems and leaves, so they are similar to water-weed. The form is that the stem that is 1 mm diameter and about 10 to 50 cm length and has nodes at which grow 8 to 11 twigs like leaves or stalks with whorled phyllotaxis. In Japan, the charophyte is called “Shyazikumo” meant “axle algae” the name of which comes from the stem and whorled phyllotaxis which are like a spindle and wheels.

Chara braunii

C. buraunii is kind of Chara species, and also belong to Chara and Characeae. Basically Chara has cortex, but C. buraunii is an exception in that it doesn’t have cortex. In Chara, there are many algae described in the red data book in Miyazaki prefecture or Fukui prefecture on one of Ministry of the Environment classified C. buraunii into “an endangered species Ⅱ” which means “species in danger of extinction is increasing”.

Charales species often live in shallow fresh water area like rice fields, but it can grow in relatively faint light areas like the bottom of lakes and marshes or a little dirty water. So, they make pure colony, “Charophyte area” in the bottom where other algae and water-weed can’t live. But the hardship to live in the area isn’t only for other algae and water-weed, but it’s also hard for the charophyte to live. If the water gets cloudy by water pollution, the sun light will not be able to reach the charophytes living in the area will die out. For that reason, there are some species that have already died out, hakonesyazikumo (Chara globularis var. hakonensis) etc. We can’t save the species that have already become extinct, but may be able to bring back the species that had briefly disappeared by water improvement, provided that the lake once they had lived, because sometimes the spore remained in the bottom of the lake.

Charophyte’s appearance is like water-weed that is seed plants, but its ecology is near to algae. Charophyte is kind of multi cellular algae that do not have vascular bundles and the regeneration used the spore, and has photosynthesis pigment which is chlorophyll a and b, so classify Chlorophyceae. The regeneration doesn’t use seed, but use spore that made from the gamete of male and female. Charophyte’s the antheridium and the archegonium has feature that are reddish.

Certainly, there are some endangered species in charales, but many species can be often seen in rice fields of Kochi prefecture. Particularly, we can see charales in the spring when fields are filled with water, about May in Kochi, to the end of summer. But the appearance is only water-weed that we often see, so I think that you probably aren’t interested to see it.

Shikokuhuuro: Geranium shikokianum

Shikokuhuuro is kind of Geranium; what we call “Hurosou: Geraniales” living in the large area of the Japanese mountain. It is also called in Japanese “Iyohuuro”. “Iyo” is old name of Ehime prefecture, and is a kind of district in Shikoku. These plant’s scientific name is Geranium shikokianum. Many species of Geranium have some distinction, mainly 10 to 20 cm height, has 1 pistil, 10 stamens of inside which 5 stamens are longer than other 5 stamens on the outside, and 5 petals which are white to red or violet, but the shapes are different between species or even within the same species at times. There are also some species, Hakusanhuuro(G. yesoense) or Bittyuuhuuro(G. yoshinoi) etc., similar to G. shikokianum’s petals which have pale violet and deep lines, so their identification is very difficult.

Geranium shikokianumu

There are more than 420 species including many garden plants of Geranium around the world. The garden plants are called “Geranium” from the genus name, but it includes many Pelargonium species which are the same Geraniaceae. Why do we call it this? Actually, Pelargonium was once regard as Geranium, so, after the revision, garden plants of Geranium and Pelargonium are called “Geranium” as there are.

In Japan, there are about 10 Geranium species including G. shikokianum distributes in sunny mountain. In Kochi, G. shikokianum live in Thurugi Mountain or Ishizuthi Mountain etc. mainly in Shikoku mountain district. But, contrary to the name, it distributes wider than the Shikoku district, in western part of Japan than Toukai district, for example, it is description on the red data book in some areas of Kyusyu, Chugoku and Kinki district.

Geranium has much tannin which is generic name of astringent taste ingredient included in edible plants such as the green tea or persimmons, has effect of gastrointestinal medicine like binding medicine. So, Geranium distributes in Japan, Kohuuro(G. tripartitum), Himehuuro(G. robertianum), Tathihuuro(G. krameri), Gennosyouko(G. thunbergii) etc. and Shikokuhuuro(G. shikokianum) too, has been utilized as a herbal medicine from a long time ago. The medicine is called “Gensou”, and is widely utilized in a Japanese folk medicine. G. thunbergii especially distributes in wide near areas of human habitation, so it has used for very various illness. Since, the species is called “Gennosyouko” which the mean is “the effect surely appears at once”. It is doubtful, it may be drunk for so many illness that there is a talk that it even work for a headache.

G. shikokianum likes sunny grassland on high altitude mountain, but sometimes flourish on forest areas. The pretty flower, comparatively larger than other Geranium, is pollinated by bee and other insects able to fly. It forms small colony, and become small flower bed in the flower season, from summer to early autumn. Therefore, from spring, you can see it in only leaf state, had deep notch like hand shape. But the shape is so likely a mugwort or an aconite that you probably couldn’t identify G. shikokiakum. If you want to see the flower in Kochi, you should climb Tsurugi Mountain or Ishizuchi Mountain in the middle of July to the early September. Climate near the top is very cool even in summer, so you will have a good time.

Nazuna: Shepard’s Purse

As one of the Japanese customs, there is a special rice porridge called “Nanakusagayu”. The reason why it is called “Nanakusagayu” is that the rice porridge includes 7 species of wild grasses. Nazuna is one of the wild grasses.

Nazuna’s height is 20 to40 cm as an adult organism, and the flowering season is from February to June in Japan. It has a lot of flowers, which are 3 mm in diameter. “Nazuna” is the Japanese name, and as another name, it is called “Penpengusa” or “Shamisengusa”. These name is related to Samisen (Japanese traditional stringed instrument). As a English name, it is called “Shepherd’s purse”, and the scientific name is “Capsella bursa-pastoris”.

In Japan, there are other species of plants which have “nazuna” at the end of their names. They are Gunbainazuna (Thlaspi arvense), Mamegunbainazuna (Lepidum viruginicum) and Inunazuna (Draba nemrosa) and so on, but their genetic names are not same as Nazuna’s one. Except for Nazuna, there are three species that have “Capsella” as their genetic names in Japan. They are Hosominazuna (Capsella bursa-pastoris Medik. var. bursa-pastoris ), Haatonazuna (Capsella sp.) and Ruberanazuna (Capsella rubella). They belong to Capsella genus, but they are an introduced species, so it shows that the species which belongs to Capsella genus is originally only Nazuna in Japan.

Nazuna is the wild grass that is distributed on temperate zone and subtropical zone of all over the world. In Japan, it is found on the whole country from Hokkaido to Okinawa, and occurs in fields, plantations and wayside, everywhere.

The life of Nazuna is as following. First, Nazuna’s seeds sprout at the beginning of winter. Then, they spend the winter with a special form called “Rosette”. When the spring comes, the stem starts growing. Finally, the flowers come out in early summer.

Winter is the season that is cruel for almost living things to live. Nazuna lives through the severe season. The reason why it can bear is its special form in winter, and it is called “Rosette”. Rosette shows a form such as flat-spreading leaves on the ground. The advantages of this form are that plants can stand the coldness of winter by pasting on the ground, and that plants can get much sunshine by spreading its leaves widely.

Nazuna is what is called a weed, so it doesn’t seem to have a special connection with other animals or plants in particular. Though it is not a biological connection, in Japan we sometimes gather Nazuna to eat. As a popular use, it is used for the Nanakusagayu mentioned above. It is also used for medicine. First, dry Nazuna in shade. Then, boil down, brew or char it. If you do the above, it will have effects for alleviation of fever, stomachache, high blood pressure, and a lot of illness. Though Nazuna is a weed, it has a close connection with Japanese.

If you would like to see Nazuna, take a walk in spring, and soon you can get it. Nazuna is a weed, and it is found anywhere. It is a familiar plant to us.


Fudaraku: Grateloupia lanceolata (Okamura) Kawaguchi

Grateloupia lanceolata (Okamura) Kawaguchi is a member of the Rhodophyceae, or red algae group.

The body is thick and firm. A short stalk appressorium with width is previously attached a little. It is vertical by appressorium. There are a lot zonal, oblong, and a kidney type etc. of the shape of the appressorium.

Moreover, it separates into two in the upper part of the appressorium, and there is the one that the point is pointed out, too. The origin of the scientific name originates the fact that it is flat, long and slender, and it is sharp ahead. The medullary layer consists of a close filamentous cell, it queues up from small spheroidal the cortex in an oval close cell in the integument layer, and a little large cell piles up in the ranging endodermis layer. It is necessary to distinguish between the `turu turu` and `tanbanori` difficultly only by the feeling the surface. It is called according to the region `akahanba`, and it is used for food.

Grateloupia lamceolata belongs to the Rhodophyta Gigartinales Halymeniaceae.

It is widely distributed in Japanese whole areas except Hokkaido such as the Honshu, Shikoku and Kyusyu. Moreover,it is distributed not only Japan but also in a Korean peninsula. Inside harbor, it often becomes a primary.

It grows in a calm environment like the basin and the littoral region.When the tides pull it most in a quiet place of the wave, it grows on rocks in the vicinity near the surface of the sea. Moreover, it lives also in the part always soaked in seawater. It is necessary to correspond to strong waves right under the ebb tide line etc. though such a place is a secure setting for the living thing. In the inside the harbor, it often becomes dominant.

It is possible to grow all the year round. The group of the cystocarp appears on the surface of the body and it becomes a macula pattern when maturing. Origin of Japanese name, comes from spots and showing `Fudarake` there is this macula. There is considerably a viscosity. Length is 20~50cm, and one that becomes 1m in length usually. Width is 7~15cm. Surface is a smooth leather . The living body is very varied with red, yellow, and green. It often is near the coast at the turn of the season from summer to autumn and it goes up. It adheres to paper when making it to a drying.

In Kochi Prefecture, it is possible to confirm it in all seas. Confirming it is especially easy, and most beautiful one is Usa.

Shiogiku: Chrysanthemum shiwogiku

Chrysanthemum shiwogiku is an apetalous wild chrysanthemum that grows near the ocean. Its scientific name Chrysanthemum shiwogiku; another name is shiokazegiku. The height of shiogiku is 25~35cm. Shiogiku has a spatulate leaf, the back of which is covered with silver hairs. The exterior of the leaf has small guard hairs.. Shiogiku sends out a subterranean stem which becomes detached. The leaf is an oval, and a large, round saw blade enters. The leaf is thick, and the table is green, and a white hair is bristly on the other side. A lot of buds are attached in a pyramid and the flowers are all cylindrical. In other word, a flower is not located in a line outside

The taxonomy of Shiogiku is a Plantae, Magnoliophyta, Magnoliopsida, Asterales, Asteraceae Chrysanthemum shiwogiku.

Shiogiku around Muroto cape becomes full-bloomed from the end of November to the beginning of December. Shiogiku mainly blooms in rocks and colors Muroto cape from the late autumn to early winter. Shiogiku grows in cliff of the seashore from Yasu-cho, Kochi to Ishima, Tokushima-ken. Siogiku just like Kisiogiku is in western Wakayama Kii Peninsula.

Shiogiku is a perennial herb and the flowring season is fall. Shiogiku and Kiisiogiku are often alike. The difference of the mutation of Shiogiku and Kiisiogiku is big capitates and wide leaf. But the chromosome of Kiishiogiku and Shiogiku is 2n=72 with a 8 time object. Isogiku is growing in Shizuoka. Since Isogiku is 10 time object 2n=90, it has a clear difference with Shiogiku. The classification top is also another kind. Shiogiku near the Muroto cape makes a cylindrical flower tear. It is the greatest thing as which the group of Shiogiku of the Muroto cape is not regarded at other places in the area over which Shiogiku is distributed.

The Muroto cape is an area precious as a botanical area for Shiogiku. So the best place to go to see it is the Muroto cape. However, a hybrid can see by mating with Nojigiku and Siogiku is in the critical situation of extinction in recent years. Moreover, it can see even in the Makino botanical gardens.

Himawari: Sun Flower

The Sun flower is a seed plant. There is large yellow bloom on the top, it grows to 2 meters in height and is a annual plant. This flower is ornamental plant and the seeds are flat and oval , they are edible and used for cooking oil. What’s more summer season word.

A Sun Flower

Sun flower’s scientific name is “Helianthus annuus”, Japanese names are “Himawari”, “Nithirinsou” and “Higuruma”.

This flower’s taxonomy is the Plantae Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Asteraceae Helianthus. There are exist about 67 species closely related of this plant.

The variety “Himehimawari”, scientific name “H. debilis”, is called in English “Vanilla ice”. This flower is 1.5 meters in height and flower is 8 centimeters in diameter, one year grass and this flower’s color variation is some find for example orange, yellow and pink. That is the snake pattern at stalk and more slender than sunflower. The flower season is between July and September, but is not tolerance of heat.

The variety “Shirotaehimawari”, scientific name “H. argophyllus” alias “Taisetuzan”, is an annual and the country of origin is North America and ornamental plant. The body covered with white down so looked silver gray, 2 meters in height and the flower season between August and September. By the way this flower and “Himehimawari” are resemble. This flower is immigrant Japan.

The variety “Yanagibahimawari” scientific name “H. aslicifolius” English name “Golden pyramid” is 1.5 meters in height, breadth is 100 centimeter. The leaf is slender and many small yellow blooms are beautiful. This flower tolerate heat and cold because strong and for easy to cultivation. The flower season between September and October.

The Sun flower’s range is all over the world. The native place of original is in west coast of North America, the year 1501, carried in Spaniard, cultivation in Madrid Botanical garden next 17 century carried in France , Russia and Japan.

Sun flower’s habitat is very wide because this flower is framed for cold and heat resistant so tough for rain therefore have wide range.

This flower moves with the sun because young flower’s top of stalk leaf moving reverse the sun so turn to east at morning but turn to west at evening, accordingly named sun flower but when follow the sun rapid is the growth of a plant. This moving continues to stick to bud so it doesn’t move when growing it and this flower to blossom but continue this moving turn to east when night so the flower is turn to east, however bloom some flower and too bad sunny place not anyway. It tolerates frost and sub-zero. Sun flower’s seed is shaped long egg and can be used for up of vegetable oil and eating. This flower looks one flower but this is gather for many small flower those form looked chrysanthemum family.

The flower season between summer and fall. Where to see: Tosa City and a few looked in the Makino botanical garden.

Oniyuri: Tiger Lily

The Tiger Lily

ONIYURI is Japanese name. American name is tiger lily. Because the origin of the name is slightly bigger than Lilium Maximowiczii growing wild in the mountainous districts; a tiger lily. It is said that ONI likened the state that the flower of the bigarade red blooms with an ogre (similar) to the face of the ogre. Continue reading Oniyuri: Tiger Lily

Umibudou (Caulerpa lentillifera)

Umibudou( Caulerpa lentillifera) is seaweed. It classified in Iwazuta (caulerpares) family, iwazuta (caulerpaceae) genus. It follows Kubirezuta and another name is green cavior. In Okinawa that called longevity grass. People in Okinawa said, when people are sick, they eat the Umibudou and they recovered from serious illness. Another use is effective for heat injury. Continue reading Umibudou (Caulerpa lentillifera)

Chrysanthemum (mum)

Chrysanthemum (mum) in Japanese is “kiku”. And it has flower’s name “nobie”. It is a taxon of plantae magnoliophyta magnoliopsida asteraler asteraceae chrysanthemum cherysanthemum ×morifolium and this is very beautiful flower what has a variety colors…white , yellow, red, purple, peach, for example. It is a popular flower in Japan. Continue reading Chrysanthemum (mum)