Wake Up and Smell the 7 Beautiful Flowers of Autumn on Your Travels Around Japan

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  • The Seven Flowers of Autumn (Aki No Nanakusa) is not very well-known to many people outside of Japan, as most people connect flowers like sakura, wisteria, and cosmos to Japan. However, the Seven Flowers of Autumn have always been a popular topic in haiku (Japanese poem) and other Japanese literature. Let’s take a closer look at each of them!

    1. Hagi (Bush clover or Japanese clover)

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    Japanese bush clover is a semi-woody subshrub, multi-branched clumps that produce a profusion of rosy purple pea flowers. The flowers are legume-shaped. It needs good drainage and needs full sun exposure. This plant is great for cascading over a wall.

    2. Kuzu ( Pueraria Lobata or Japanese arrowroot)

    kudzu

    Kuzu or Japanese arrowroot are climbing, coiling, and trailing perennial vines. This flower has many uses from soil improvement and preservation, is used as animal feed, for fiber art and basketry, food and medicine.

    3. Obana (Japanese Pampas Grass)

    japanese-pampas-grass

    Japanese Pampas Grass is a known autumn symbol. It can be seen anywhere mostly in fields and riverbeds. It is a herbaceous perennial grass growing up to two meters or sometimes four meters. The leaves are broad and the flowers are purplish and turn brown and gold deep into the autumn.

    4. Ominaeshi (Patrinia Scabiosaefolia or Golden Lace Flower)

    Ominaeshi are hundreds of airy bright yellow flowers. Omina-eshi or omina-esi if translated to English means “maiden flower” or “ladyflower”. This flower also grows anywhere.

    5. Nadeshiko (Dianthus)

    nadeshiko-flower

    The flowers have five petals and are typically pale to dark pink. Nadeshiko if translated to English means “a child you can caress”. The Japanese national women’s team (Yamato Nadeshiko) is also named after this flower.

    6. Asagao (Bell Flower or Japanese Morning Glory)

    asagao

    This flower produces purple blooms, pink blooms or sometimes blue and is usually sold in markets as a present. In the Edo period, this flower was loved as a flower of the common people of Japan.

    7. Fujibakama (Thoroughwort)

    fujibakama

    The flowers of fujibakama are tiny and bloom in clumps and they are usually used for medicinal purposes.

    These seven flowers are mentioned in the verse taken out from the Manyoshu, (“Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves”, a collection of Japanese poetry from the 8th century) of the Japanese poet, Yamanoue Okura (山上億良), best known for his poems about children and commoners. The verse is as follows:

    (Japanese Version)

    秋の野に 咲きたる花を 指折り
    かき数ふれば 七種の花

    萩の花 尾花 葛花 瞿麦の花 女郎花
    また藤袴 朝貌の花

    (Romaji Version)

    (Aki-no No-ni Sakitaru Hana-wo Oyobiori
    Kakikazoureba Nanakusa-no Hana)

    (Hagi-no Hana Obana Kuzuhana Nadeshiko-no Hana Ominaeshi
    Mata Fujibakama Asagao-no Hana)

    (English Version)
    Flowers blossoming
    in autumn fields –
    when I count them on my fingers
    then they number seven

    The flowers of hagi (bush clover),
    obana (eulalia), kuzu (arrowroot),
    nadeshiko (pink), ominaeshi (patrinia),
    also, fujibakama (mistflower)
    and asagao (morning face) flower.

    Related Articles:

    Follow Your Nose to the Sweet Autumn Fragrance of Kinmokusei Blossoms
    Nokonoshima Island Park: Where flowers bloom all year round
    Have you ever seen those red flowers crowning the green grass?