Perry's Perennial Pages

Perennial Plant Names 

 

Japanese Common Names, alphabetic by genus

The following plants are selected as typical of, or commonly found, in Japan or Japanese gardens. They include herbaceous perennials (generally zone 9 and hardier), grasses, ferns, and bamboos and related.

Genus

Japanese name

meaning

     

Acorus calamus

shōbu

 

Acorus gramineus

sekishō

 

Actaea simplex

sarashina shōma

 

Adiantum pedatum

kujaku shida

 

Adonis amurensis

fukujusō

weed of wealth and happiness

Ajana pacifica

iso giku

 

Anemone hupehensis var. japonica

shūmei giku, Kibune giku

after Mount Kibune

Aquilegia flabellata

odamaki

 

Aralia cordata

udo

 

Asplenium scolopendrium

ko tani watari

 

Aster tataricus

shion

shi=purple, on=garden

Aster spathulifolius

daruma giku

 

Aster spathulifolius var. alba

shirobana daruma giku

 

Astilbe japonica

awamori shōma

awa=tiny bubbles, mori=plenty, sho=unit of measure, ma=floor as woodland floor

Astilbe chinensis var. davidii

ō chidake sashi

 

Astilbe simplicifolia

hitotsuba shōma

 

Astilbe thunbergii

aka shōma

aka=red as color of roots

Astrantia

   

Athyrium nipponicum var. pictum

hosoba inu warabi

 

Bambusa multiplex

hōrai chiku

 

Bergenia stracheyi

Himaraya yuki-no-shita

 

Bergenia grandis subsp. evansiana

shūkaidō

 

Bletilla striata

shiran

shi-=purple, ran=orchid

Calanthe discolor

ebine

ebi=shrimp, ne=root as in shape of root

Campanula punctata

hotaru bukuro

hotaru=firefly, bukuro=bag, as in fireflies entering tubular corolla and illuminating

Carex morrowii

kan suge

 

Chimonobambusa quadrangularis

shihō chiku

 

Chrysanthemum yezoense

ko hama giku

 

Convallaria keiskei

suzu ran, kimigakesō

 

Convallaria majalis

Doitsu suzuran

 

Crinum japonicum

hama yū, hama omoto

 

Dianthus superbus var. longicalycinus

nadeshiko

 

Dianthus superbus var. superbus

Ezo kawara nadeshiko

 

Dianthus barbatus

Amerika nadeshiko

 

Dicentra peregrina

komakusa

 

Dicentra spectabilis

kemansō, daitsurisō, fuji botan

 

Dryopteris erythrosora

beni shida

beni=red, as in covering on sori in spring

Eichhornia crassipes

hotei aoi

 

Epimedium grandiflorum

ikarisō

 

Epimedium higoense

Higo ikarisō

 

Farfugium japonicum

tsuwabuki

 

Filipendula multijuga

shimotsukesō

 

Fritillaria thunbergii

baimo, amigasa yuri

 

Gentiana scabra var. buergeri

rindō

 

Glaudicium palmatum

shirane aoi

 

Hakonechloa macra

uraha gusa, chisō

 

Heloniopsis orientalis

shōjōbakama

 

Hemerocallis

kanzō

 

Hosta

gibōshi

 

Hosta montana

ōba gibōshi

 

Hosta plantaginea var. japonica

tama kanzashi

jewel of the hairpiece

Hosta sieboldiana

Tō gibōshi

 

Hosta undulata

suji gibōshi

 

Hosta ventricosa

murasaki gibōshi

 

Imperata cylindrica

chigaya

 

I. cylindrica ‘Rubra’

beni chigaya

 

Iris ensata

hana shōbu

 

Iris japonica

shaga

 

Iris laevigata

kakitsubata

 

Iris pseudacorus

ki shōbu

 

Iris sanguinea

ayame

 

Kirengeshoma palmata

ki renge shōma

ki=yellow, like Anemonopsis

Lilium auratum

yama yuri

yama=mountain, yuri=lily

Lilium lancifolium

oni yuri

 

Lilium longiflorum

teppō yuri

 

Liriope muscari

yabu ran

 

Lycoris radiata

higan bana

bloom time (bana) during autumn equinox (higan)

Lysichiton camtschatcensis

mizu bashō

 

Matteuccia struthiopteris

kusa sotetsu

 

Miscanthus sinensis

susuki, obana, kaya

 

M. sinensis ‘Variegatus’

shima susuki

shima=stripe

M. sinensis ‘Zebrinus’

taka-no-ha susuki

 

Narcissus tazetta

suisen

 

Nelumbo nucifera

hasu

 

Nymphaea tetragona

hitsuji gusa

 

Ophiopogon japonicus

ja-no-hige

 

Ophiopogon planiscapus

ōba ja-no-hige

 

O. planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’

koku ryū

 

Osmunda japonica

zemmai

 

Paeonia obovata var. japonica

shakuyaku

 

Paeonia japonica

yama shakuyaku

 

Pennisetum alopecuroides

chikara shiba, michi shiba

 

Petasites japonicus

fuki

 

Phyllostachys nigra

kuro chiku

 

Platycodon grandiflorus

kikyō ari-no-hi fuki

 

Pleioblastus linearis

Ryūkyū chiku

 

Polygonatum odoratum var. pluriflorum

amadokoro

 

P. o. var. pluriflorum ‘Variegatum’

fuiri amadokoro

 

Primula japonica

kurinsō

 

Primula sieboldii

sakurasō

 

Reineckea carnea

kichijōsō

 

Rodgersia podophylla

yagurumasō

 

Sasa veitchii

kuma zasa

 

Saxifraga stolonifera

yuki-no-shita

 

Semiarundinaria fastuosa

Narihira dake

 

Shibataea kumasasa

okame zasa

 

Symplocarpus foetidus

zazensō

 

Tricyrtis hirta

hototogisu

resembling spotted breast feathers on a little cuckoo

Viola mandshurica

sumire

 

Viola odorata

nioi sumire

 

Viola orientalis

ki sumire

 

Zephyranthes candida

tama sudare

 

For more information on these plants and other ornamentals, consult Garden Plants of Japan, Yamamori and Taaffe.



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