Shikimi AomojiImage
 Shikimi AomojiImage
 Shikimi AomojiImage
 Shikimi AomojiImage
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Plants seen around Unzen Jigoku(1)

Shikimi Aomoji

Nagasaki Unzen
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 Shikimi (Flowers from mid-March to early April Fruits from early September)
Shikimi is a shrub belonging to the Magnoliaceae family, and has cream-colored flowers with a strong fragrance that bloom from around mid-March. Incense sticks are made from its leaves and resin. It grows wild all over Unzen and is locally called "Hana Shiba" and is used as an offering to graves. It is said that the use of the character for the kanji "shikimi" comes from the fact that Kobo Daishi, the founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, used it as a substitute for the lotus flower in esoteric Buddhist memorial services. .
 In autumn, it bears a strange octagonal fruit similar to the octagon of Chinese perfume, but it is said that this name was given from Ashikimi (bad fruit) because the fruit is poisonous. 
 Aomoji (flower mid-March to early April)
In March, the yellow flowers of Aomoji bloom. It is also called "graduation flower" because it is seen around the time of graduation ceremony at school. Aomoji is a southern plant, and it is most commonly found in the western part of Kyushu, especially in Nagasaki prefecture. Around the middle of March, yellow flowers become conspicuous along the road from Chijiishi-cho to Unzen-Bessho Dam. It was around 20 years ago that we started seeing Aomoji on the Shimabara Peninsula, and the distribution of Aomoji is spreading.


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