Habenaria radiata. The English nickname “Butterfly Flower” (not the more commonly known Buddleia), suits this orchid’s fringed and lacy flower, but the Japanese nickname Heron flower has a more romantic history. The sagisou is elegant and graceful and has become a great favorite in gardens here. It is a birthday flower for people born on August 21.
The white flower on the straight long stalk looks like a white heron in flight, hence it is known in Japanese as the “Heron Plant / Egret Plant”, sagisou 鷺草
Habitat: wetlands in Japan.
According to legend, during the Period of warring states, a fair maiden from the castle of Setagaya (now in Tokyo) sent a letter for help to her beloved in the war, giving it to a white heron to carry it on. The heron was shot down, however, but where it fell to the ground, this beautiful flower started to grow. Now this flower is the mascot flower of Setagaya ward, Tokyo.