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.


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

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)

Ajisai: Hydrangea

Hydrangea means container of water. Hydrangea (Japanese name is Ajisai)is a general term for Plantae Hydrangeae Hydrangea. Generally what is planted is Hydrangea macrophylla f. hortensia.(Seiyou Ajisai).Seiyou Ajisai is garden variety of Hydrangea macrophylla (Gaku Ajisai).

Height of tree is 1 to 2 meters. Leaf color is lucid pale green and leaf vein can b clearly seen. Leaf shape is ovoid with serration. Generally Hydrangea blooms from June to July. It is said to be an ornamental flower. Also, stamen and pistil are in devolution (Neutral flower). What seems petal is calyx. Regarding Gaku Ajisai ornamental flower blooms around crowding neutral flower. But regarding Seiyou Ajisai almost all flowers are ornamental flower.

Flower color change gradually due to anthocyanin–a blue, violet, or red flavonoid pigment found in plants–which is affected by acidity of soil, amount of aluminum ion, and the number of days from bloom. Generally it is said that if acidity of soil is high the color of flower is blue if acidity of soil is low the color of flower is red. But acidity of soil is only one factor of change color of flower out of many. While the start color is blue which changes gradually to red, there are some cases that the color of flower is green. There are garden variety what has green flower. But some of the flowers are parasitized by phytoplasma, this is an untreatable disease for now.

Hydrangea contains poison. If one eats it, one suffer from poisoning. A symptom is hyper ventilation, excitation, walk with a tottering, convulsion, paralysis. There are some cases that through these symptoms and die. It is concluded that these symptoms factor is glycoside. But recently it is concluded that causative agent is not glycoside but another agent.

Hydrangeas are popular ornamental plant, grown for their large flower heads, with Hydrangea macrophylla being by far the most widely grown with over 600 named cultivars, many selected to have only large sterile flowers in the flower heads. Some are best pruned on an annual basis when the new leaf buds begin to appear. If not pruned regularly, the bush will become very leggy, growing upwards until the weight of the stems is greater than their strength, that point the stems will sag down to the ground and possibly break. Other species only flower on ‘old wood’. Thus new wood resulting from pruning will not produce flowers until the following season.

In Japan, ama cha, meaning sweet tea, is another herbal tea made from Hydrangea serrata, whose leaves contain a substance that develops a sweet taste (phyllodulcin). For the fullest taste, fresh leaves are crumpled, steamed, and dried, yielding dark brown tea leaves. Ama-cha is mainly used for kan-butsu-e (the Buddha bathing ceremony) on April 8 every year. the day thought to be Buddha’s birthday in Japan. Ama-cha is poured over a statue of Buddha in the ceremony and served to people in attendance. A legend has it that on the day Buddha was born, nine dragon poured Amalita over him; ama-cha is substituted for Amalita in Japan.

If you want to see Hydrangea in Kochi, go to Ajisai Gaidou in Haruno town. There are ten thousand Hydrangea along the irrigation canal. The best time to see is in late may to early June.