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Old 03-16-2011, 01:02 AM
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Default Japan Tour: Japanese andromeda

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Despite the earthquake we are continuing our regular features as the vast majority of Japan remains unaffected by the tragic events in the Tohoku area. Here are some lovely flowers to celebrate the coming of spring.

This Japanese andromeda started blooming on my verandah two or three weeks ago, i.e. in late winter. It is also known as a Japanese pieris, is a member of the heath family, and is native to Japan, Taiwan and eastern China. It is called an asebi in Japanese.

The beautiful pink-white flower clusters range in length - mainly according to their stage of development - some of them shorter as in the photo above, others up to about 20cm as in the photo below. The buds are dark pink, and the flowers start off much the same color and gradually grow whiter.

The newly blossomed flowers have very little scent, but the subtle scent they do have increases slightly as they grow.

Apparently the leaves are poisonous - at least to livestock, and probably to humans too.

These are the most beautiful flowers on my plant-crowded verandah at the moment, but I'm looking forward to sharing equally attractive sights as spring approaches.

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