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One of the most loved sights in autumn in the Japanese alpine mountains is the alpine harebell or iwashajin (adenophora takedae).

Adenophora triphylla var. japonika Japanese name: IWASHAJIN イワシャジン Family: Campanulaceae
Habitat: High mountains, usually humid rocky places in mountainous areas.

The harebell is a showy plant, with pendant, long pale-blue flowers with long, violet-blue flowers. This is a plant that blooms for a long period (Sept-Oct). Flowering now (autumn).
It likes any good soil, sunny border or open woodland.The plants grow to around 15cm (12 – 16 inches) tall. Zones ( 6 ) 7 – 9 . 60 seeds .
This species is sought after as a pot plant by alpine plant enthusiasts.

Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005


Iwashajin (harebell)


But I lay still, and with me oft she sat From all a closer interest flourished up, Tenderness touch by touch, and last, to these, Love, like an Alpine harebell hung with tears By some cold morning glacier; frail at first And feeble, all unconscious of itself, But such as gathered colour day by day.
From “The Princess” by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Autumn is a very picturesque season in the Japanese mountains, and one of the loveliest sights is a frail-looking alpine harebell hung with dew. The iwashajin (Adenophora takedae) is a native plant that bears many small blue flowers in September and October. The plant grows from 20 cm to 60 cm high and has fine, wiry stems. Like many alpine plants the Japanese harebell is tough: It grabs a foothold in small cracks in the rocks and endures exposure to sun, wind and cold. The thin, thread-like leaves help it to conserve vital moisture. Harebells belong to the bellflower (or Campanulaceae) family of plants, which includes the popular kikyo, or balloon flower, one of Japan’s seven flowers of autumn. About 300 species of bellflowers and harebells can be found throughout the northern hemisphere, growing in riverbeds, woodlands and moors from Siberia to California.


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