Rowans and Tsubakis

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On our hike last week in the Daisen National Park, the drab, rainy day was brightened with the bright red berries of the Japanese Rowan (Sorbus commixta). The Rowans are found throughout the northern hemisphere and reach their greatest diversity in China and the Himalayas. The berries are edible, but can be stringent. They are a favorite of birds. I will be looking for the leaves next time, as the pinnate leaves are a bright red color in autumn. The small tree is a common ornamental in parks and gardens.

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In my garden and all throughout the city, the tsubaki (Camellia cultivar) is in flower. It is unusual for the blooms to occur so late in the autumn. My friend said the tsubaki is the “flower of the samurai” because it falls off whole. This is the same genus as tea. I also have a pink variety growing in my garden (below).

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