Home > Life in Japan > Environment
  print button email button

Wednesday, March 19, 2008



That weeps at daybreak, like a silly girl
Before her love, and hardly lets the butterflies unfurl
Their painted wings beside it — bid it pine
In pale virginity; the winter snow
Will suit it better than those lips of thine
Whose fires would but scorch it.

From "The Garden of Eros" by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

In Oscar Wilde's poem, the fiery "lips" refer to the Sun, and he rightly observes the delicate nature of spring-flowering anemones. Anemones belong to the large Ranunculaceae or buttercup family of plants that typically have silky or velvety petals, a distinctive circle of stamens, and divided leaves. In Japan, the name "anemone" denotes the large red or purple flowers of Anemone coronaria, which is a popular florists' bloom. There are, hoever, many species of anemones, and the type pictured above is the wild Anemone blanda, or Mountain Anemone of Greece. The flowers are about 4 cm across and are usually blue, but they also come in pink or white. It is a popular garden plant and easy to grow. I planted a few small corms of A. blanda on a west-facing slope in my garden, and in early spring, when the ground was still dusted with frost, these brave little plants started to stir. First a bud emerged with its head bent down. Then a pair of leaves appeared, and gradually the bud looked up and fine, silky petals flared out. Another common name for wild anemones is "windflowers," and it is wonderful to see a mass of windflowers in the wild. In Japan you can find the pure-white nirin-sou (A. flaccida) blooming in April or May. It likes moist ground, on high plains or at the forest edge, and can colonize large areas.

Back to Top

About us |  Work for us |  Contact us |  Privacy policy |  Link policy |  Registration FAQ
Advertise in japantimes.co.jp.
This site has been optimized for modern browsers. Please make sure that Javascript is enabled in your browser's preferences.
The Japan Times Ltd. All rights reserved.