***** Location: Japan, North America, Europa
***** Season: Late Summer and others, see below
***** Category: Plant
yamabooshi (yamaboshi) no hana 山法師のはな Literally: Mountain priest
yamabooshi 山帽子 "Mountain Hat" (a play with pronounciation of kanji)
yamaguwa 山桑 "Mountain Mulberry"
The cornus family of plants comes in many variations and therefore different seasons as a kigo in other areas than Japan. See below.
In Japan, the flowers on the twigs are all looking up and it seems like snow on the branches. They grow on Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku in the mountainous areas.
Flowering from May to June. Yamabooshi means "mountain priest", since the round part in the middle of the flower reminds us of the shaven head of a priest and the four white petals are like the scarf worn by monk-soldiers on the famous temple Mt. Hieizan, Kyoto. The most famous of these mountain priest-warriours is maybe the brave Benkei, the companion of Yoshitsune. But that is a different story.
Hooshi (hoshi 法師) in the beginning was a term for a high-ranking priest who could explain the Buddhist teaching, but later the meaning became more wide to include any priest or monk, especially the ones from Hiezan, which is the meaning of "mountain" YAMA in the name of this flower.
In Autumn the red berries look almost like strawberries.
Dogwood Promenade in Hiroshima
We started the Dogwood Initiative 2001 in an effort to emulate the exchange of cherry blossom and dogwood trees that symbolized the friendship between the US and Japan at the beginning of the 20th century. We will create a beautiful dogwood promenade along the banks of the Kyobashi-gawa River as a living testament to the friendship between the US and Japan, representing for centuries to come the goodwill of the people of the US toward the people of Hiroshima.
5. Future Image of Dogwood Promenade
6. Dogwood Characteristics
7. Dogwood Volunteers
8. Dogwood Planting Ceremony
Cornus kousa, Japanischer Blütenhartriegel, Kousa Dogwoods
There is also a Chinese version.
Yamabooshi Plants in Japan
Cornus florida .. .. .. kigo for spring
Flowering dogwood blooms in the spring, as its new leaves are unfolding, and usually remains showy for 2-3 weeks.
Flowering dogwood occurs naturally in the eastern United States from Massachusetts to Ontario and Michigan, south to eastern Texas and Mexico, and east to central Florida. It grows in a variety of habitats throughout its range, but generally occurs on fertile, well drained but moist sites. Flowering dogwood is usually an understory component in mixed hardwood forests or at the edges of pine forests.
The bright red fruits ripen in September and are eaten by birds.
You can tell a dogwood by its bark...
Look at more pictures here:
and in this Plant Gallery
The flowering dogwood is the state tree and flower of Virginia, and the state tree of North Carolina, both southern states in the US. The dogwood flowers in mid April thru May in most Southern States.
"Dogwood, common name for a family of flowering plants distributed mainly in the temperate areas of the northern hemisphere, with a few species occurring in tropical South America and Africa. Of the 14 genera in the family, only the dogwood genus is native to North America. Members of the family are mostly trees or shrubs with simple, opposite leaves. Well-known exceptions, however, are the bunch berry, a perennial herb; and the pagoda dogwood, which has alternate leaves. Dogwood flowers are small and are produced in branched terminal clusters that are sometimes surrounded by showy white bracts. Thus, the so-called petals of the familiar flowering dogwood are actually bracts."
Many southern states have 'Dogwood Festivals'.
2004 Atlanta Dogwood Festival
Ireland (and the UK) :
Red Barked Dogwood 'Cornus alba Sibirica'
Cornus sanguinea "blood-red"
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Both are kigo for winter
The variety used in Europe is a shrub up to 1.50, possibly 2 metres tall at most. It is often planted as a hedge, or a copse along a roadside, and for most of the year is just plain shrubbery.
Once it has lost its leaves, it comes into its own, as its branches, all growing straight upwards and now becoming visible, are either red or brilliant yellow, and thus lend real beauty to the roadsides or hedgerows in winter.
Red Barked Dogwood 'Cornus alba Sibirica'
Small, creamy-white flowers in May and June and oval, dark green leaves, which redden in autumn and fall to reveal bright, coral-red stems. This red-barked dogwood is perfect for a waterside planting. To achieve the best stem colour chose a sunny site and hard prune the stems to within 5-7cm (2-3in) from the ground each March.
Sanguinea means "blood-red" referring to the coloured stems of this species which is a native of England, Ireland and east to Russia and western Asia. It is found in scrubs and hedges, often on chalk.
The winter shoots of this upright, deciduous shrub are reddish-green, sometimes completely green and different cultivars are valued for the varied colours of the winter shoots.
The leaves are mid-green, ovate and up to 10cm (4in) long, turning red in autumn. White flowers are borne in May or June in dense, flat cymes, up to 5cm (2in) across.
The fruit are spherical, matt blue-black, bitter and inedible. Once used as a source of lamp oil, their oily nature led to the dogwood being called the “wax tree”.
It was also called the “dog-tree” and “dogberry” because its fruit was considered unfit even for dogs.
Shakespeare gave the name Dogberry to a character in Much Ado About Nothing, indicating the prominence of the dogwood in British life at the time
Present from America heralds coming winter
The fall foliage is slowly moving down from the north of the country to the south, from the mountains to the fields. Even in Tokyo, where the arrival of each of the four seasons was slower than ever this year, the leaves are changing color on the sidewalks and gardens.
On flowering dogwood trees, the leaves first turned deep scarlet, and then pale brown as they entered the final chapter of their annual cycle.
Red spots appeared on green leaves and gradually spread like a dye. As if weighted by color, all the leaves bowed their tips to the ground, waiting for their time to return to earth.
The red of these dogwood leaves is difficult to describe. If I say the color of dried salmon or beef jerky, perhaps drinkers will understand. This year, as always, the dogwoods have delighted me with their flowers in the spring, colorful foliage in the autumn, and now little red berries.
Thursday was ritto, the first day of winter by the lunisolar calendar that divides the year into 24 sekki points. "Reki Binran," an 18th-century practical guide of calendar, says of ritto: "The cold deepens with the start of the winter chills."
But perhaps because of global warming, the turning of one season to the next seems to have become less clear. I am told that this winter, too, is expected to start on a mild note.
Flowering dogwood trees were brought to Japan during the Taisho Era (1912-1926), when the city of Washington, D.C. presented them to Tokyo in return for the cherry trees donated to the U.S. capital. In the language of flowers, dogwood signifies "return present."
Unlike the "multitalented" dogwood, the cherry pours all its life force into its spring blossoms. As the cold deepens in the coming days, the buds will have to stand cold to stimulate their growth next spring.
Near my home, there is a street lined with about 50 cherry trees that have been loved for 80 years. To keep them healthy, neighborhood residents have created a "register" for them.
A survey done this autumn found that the long, hot summer caused infestations by caterpillars and fungi, which further debilitated the already heat-stressed trees. The survey also confirmed that car exhausts have done damage.
One year ago, the No. 27 tree on the register was involved in a car accident. A moving truck hit and broke a large branch that stretched out over the road. But thanks to the ministrations of the locals who lovingly tended to the tree by disinfection and other measures, a new branch is now growing.
If this cherry tree can appreciate people's goodwill, I look forward to its "return present" next spring.
--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 8(IHT/Asahi: November 9,2007)