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This plant is called the Jinchoge or Sweet Daphne. It is grown on many hedges around here and they smell great. The Japan Times article below tells more about its name and origins.

IN BLOOM
Jinchoge (Sweet Daphne)

By LINDA INOKI


With dark’s evening star,
Linking hand with hand,
“Come to bed,” he would say,”
Father, mother, beside me:
In the middle, I’ll sleep,
Like sweet daphne, “triple-stalked.”

 

From the poem “Pining for his son, Furuhi” by Okura Yamanoue (660?-733),
translated by Geoffrey Bownas and Anthony Thwaite in “Japanese Verse” (Penguin)

Since midwinter, the tightly packed buds of sweet daphne have been gathering strength, and now they are just opening to send their lovely fragrance into the air. This hardy, evergreen shrub originally came from China, and although it rarely figures in Japanese literature or art, it is nonetheless a popular garden plant. It loves a sunny spot and looks very attractive when grown through a traditional bamboo fence. The flowers may be creamy white or pink, though (is it my imagination?) the white seem to have a more refined perfume. In Greek mythology, Daphne was a pure nymph pursued by the lusty god Apollo. When she appealed to the gods to save her, they kindly turned her into a bay tree, with fragrant leaves.

The Japan Times: Feb. 21, 2002

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