When you ride the trains in Japan in spring, you can see splashes of bright purple along the tracks, these are the blossoms of the purple rape or hana-daikon.
The Hana-daikon (literally flower-radish) or Shokatsusai in Japanese or Orychophragmus violaceus, is a member of the Brassica family it is a flower among the Seven Herbs of Spring (see next post). Other names include Ooaraseitou, Murasaki-hana-na (“purple-flower-rape”), Shikinsou (“purple-gold-plant”), and Shokatsusai (the Chinese name). The ancient name of this family, Cruciferae, refers to the distinctive cross-shaped arrangement of the petals. In flower language, the flower means wisdom. They are growing in masses in practically every garden around here.
Orychophragmus violaceus is a biennial that is native to eastern China and the Korean Peninsula, and was probably introduced to Japan in the Edo era 270 years ago as a decorative plant, but has now naturalized in the wild. (Its other Japanese names are Murasaki-hanana or Purple rape and Ooaraseito). The pale purple to magenta four-petaled flowers bloom from March to May. It can reach 30-80 cm in height. The radical and underpart leaves are divided into lobes pinnately. The upperpart leaves.