Japan is one of the most intriguing places on Earth. Its culture is so widely different from anything we know of here in the United States. It's a technological hub, making strides in robotics and science. Its cities are industrial marvels with ingenious ways to save space on the crowded islands. However, all of the man-made accomplishments aside, it's also one of the most beautiful places in the world.
The beaches, the mountains, and the forests are teeming with beauty. One such example of this beauty is flowers. Being an island, nature has a chance to evolve in its own little bubble, creating flora and fauna that's unique. Here are ten such flowers that you’ll only find in Japan.
10 Japanese Snowbell
This lovely little flower grows off a lovely little tree. The flower has five white petals that are arranged in a star formation with a small punch of yellow in the middle. The trees produce fruit as well. However, you wouldn’t want it in your fruit salad as it doesn’t taste that great.
The Japanese Snowbell blooms in small, downward hanging bunches in the month of May. The trees grow in bunches as well. Its scientific name is Styrax japonica, with the latter part of its name emphasizing the evolution of this tree on the far-flung, isolated islands of Japan.
9 Japanese Buttercup
The Japanese Buttercup is another little flower that is just adorable to look at it. Its five round petals are a perfect, sunny yellow. Its ring of little yellow fringe around the small green bulb in the center acts as a cute button.
The Ranunculus japonicus (its scientific name) can be seen dotting the fields and mountainous regions all over Japan and soaking up the sun in the warmer spring months. Its leaves resemble horse hoofprints in the grass. It's a small plant but when you see it, its sheer cuteness will be sure to brighten up your day as you wander the Japanese countryside.
8 Buffalo Bur
The Buffalo Bur is interesting to look at. It has five, long, skinny, pointed white or yellow petals in a star shape. There is a green star in the middle, with the arms striping the petals. In the very middle of the flower is large yellow bulb with tiny green stem poking out of it. Not only is it interesting to look at, but it also has an interesting name in Japanese: Bakanasu.
You see, these blooms closely resemble that of the eggplant. However, it doesn’t grow a large edible vegetable. So, the Japanese name translates to, “stupid eggplant.” It's pretty hilarious to imagine whoever named this planet being angry at it for not producing vegetables, not realizing at first that it's only a look-alike.
7 Lacecap Hydrangea
At first glance, Lacecap Hydrangea looks like two flowers growing together. There are white-ish, purple-ish flowers with four wide petals and little blue bulbs in the center that resemble a regular hydrangea. In the middle of this is a beautiful, busy bunch of smaller blooms in various shades of blue and purple with little dots of green.
However, all of this is one flower. The outer rim of the flower bunch blooms as the large flowers while everything in the middle stays in smaller flowers and buds. The Japanese name for this flower, Gaku, means frame and it's quite fitting with the appearance of this bloom.
6 Tiger Lily
The Tiger Lily, or the Lilium lancifolium if you enjoy the more scientific side of things, is a simply gorgeous flower. It looks like something out of a fantasy novel or maybe even something from an alien planet. These blooms are a fantastic orange color with five petals so curly, they curl back towards their stem.
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The petals are splattered with little black spots. Lastly, bursting from the center of the flower are long pistils with large, red tips. Its bright, warm colors go perfectly with fall and from July to August you’ll see these flowers across the plains and mountains of Japan, ushering in the start of the season.
5 Paris Tetraphylla
This flower doesn’t really have a common name; Paris tetraphylla is its scientific name and the name it's known as. This one is rather unique in other ways as well. It has a long stem with a big green collar of broad leaves. It only blooms from May to August and when it does, only one bloom per plant appears atop the stem.
However, unless you look closely, you won’t even see the tiny flower. It's very small with four pointed petals and little spires in the center that point straight up. On top of that, it's a light green color that blends in with its leafy collar.
This is another tree native to Japan that produces gorgeous flowers. It looks similar to a weeping willow tree you might find over here in the United States but there is something more beautiful, almost haunting about these trees. Known as Noda Fuji in Japan, there are branches that hang down from the trunk of the tree that act more like a vine.
They have small purple buds with a single white-ish lavender petal that sticks up like a little cape, they also smell heavenly. Adding to the eerie beauty, these flowers close up at night for protection. If you’re taking a flower pilgrimage, this a must-see specimen of flora to add to your list.
This flower is simple in its appearance, but it's still pretty to look at. It's round petals overlap and form a cup or sorts around several skinny, white pistils topped with bright yellow stamen. Nature has a way of creating the most wonderful and perfect color contrasts and this flower showcases that perfectly.
These seemingly overstuffed blooms come in a large variety of colors. The Camellia also has a bit of a place in Japanese folklore. In the days of the samurai, to be beheaded was a dishonorable execution. When the Camellia wilts, the entire flower drops from the stem. It was considered a symbol of the execution and samurai who witnessed it saw it as a bad omen.
2 Japanese Snake Gourd
The Japanese Snake Gourd is another piece of flora that has an air of etherealness to it. It has a simple yellow center and from that center comes five white pointy petals. From each of those petals sprouts a complex and delicate web of spindles.
Like a spirit that shys from the daylight, this flower only blooms at night and spreads its wispy tendrils over other plants. You’ll see it most often from April to June, clinging to its surrounding flora, covering them in its veil-like petals. Their ghostly appearance alone makes these flowers spooky and wonderful to look upon.
Last but certainly not least, is the beautiful Iris. This regal looking bloom is an explosion of deep violet petals with touches of white and yellow towards the stem. It looks like it could be the elegant ball gown of a sprite or fairy creature with its layers of delicate petals.
You’ll find these flowers perched atop tall green stalks and lining rivers in regions of Japan such as Hokkaido and Kyushu. Up to three flowers will bloom atop a single stalk but no matter how pretty they may look, try to keep your distance. The purple princess is a poisonous flower, so look but do not touch.