Last Saturday I went for my first hike with a group of hikers to a nearby hills and forest called the “Momiji Road” (Maple Road). Although we were late by about two weeks in witnessing the splash of autumn colors, I did find the remnants of autumn colors pleasing and personally had a good time hiking through woods and observing the vegetation. I focused my attention this time on red berries.
View from top of the hill – Kanozan and the Yokohoma-Kawasaki skyline beyond
Let me share some of the autumn scenes during the hike with you.
Hiking through glorious Japanese maple trees
We walked through in a file delighted at nature’s colors. I wish we had made this two weeks earlier when the autumn leaves were in full array!
Dense concentration of maple leaves
Throughout the hike, I came across various kinds of red berries and picked up some of them.
Oriental bittersweet (Tsuru ume modoki in Japanese)
This is a deciduous, climbing, woody plant with clusters of inconspicuous yellowish flowers producing green/yellow fruits which split in Autumn to reveal showy bright red seeds. The Japanese name is “Tsuru ume modoki.” It appears to be an invasive species. Highly ornamental and can be used in wreaths. I’m planning to propagate the plant with the red seeds, but would probably do it in planters.
Coral berry or Coral Ardisia (Manryo in Japanese)
On top of the hill was a solitary house where the old man grew all kinds of vegetables and flowers. I found this plant in his sunlit garden. The coral berry is a familiar sight in Japanese gardens in winter. My neighbor has at least ten of them in her gardens. The dark green, serrated leaves are glossy and very attractive. The berries, which hang down in clusters, are quite showy as they ripen and turn to shades of coral and finally bright scarlet. There are similar varieties in Japan called “Senryo” in Japanese (Sarcandra glabra) and “Hyakuryo” (Ardisia crispa) and even “Juryryo” (Japanese ardisia).
I found many of these shrubs growing by the sides of the hills as we walked the narrow paths. Called the “Aoki” in Japanese, the bright red berries lit up the surroundings. I picked a few and hope to propagate this plant.
According to Wikipedia:
Japanese Aucuba (Photo courtsey: Wikipedia)
Rosa Multiflora (Japanese name “Noibara”)
Found this plant too growing in the wild and picked up a few branches. Rosa multiflora is grown as an ornamental plant. It is also used as rootstock for grafting roses. I’m not sure how well it propagates, but I intend to try with the seeds I picked up!
Until the next post, here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and season’s greetings!
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