Featured here are natives plant that are called Coralberries (a.k.a. Spiceberries / Spearflower) and Ardisia crenata (scientific name) or manryo which means Ten Thousand Coins in Japanese.
Above is the yellow variety called “golden coins” which is very popular during the New Year seasion as they speak of prosperity.
|A red berry
Spilled on the white frost
Of the garden.
|By Masaoka Shiki (1866-1902),
quoted in “Haiku” by R.H. Blyth (Hokuseido Press)
The coralberry ( Ardisia crenata ) is also called spiceberry or spearflower. Usually, the stem grows up very straight and bursts into a canopy of crimped, lancelike leaves, but in a shady spot it will lean toward the light. This plant is linked to the new-year season, because its red berries and evergreen leaves symbolize good fortune. There is sometimes confusion between manryo whose Japanese name suggests “countless treasure,” and the plant senryo ( Chloranthus glaber ), whose name implies “great treasure,” and which is also considered a lucky plant. However, it is easy to remember the difference, because senryo berries face upward, while coralberries hang down on red stalks, like coral jewelry pendants or beads. Birds such as brown-eared bulbuls eat the berries, and recently I saw a pretty female redstart like the one pictured above picking some up in a suburban garden. But the plants keep their berries for quite a long time, so perhaps birds do not find them very tasty.
Source: Japan Times Thursday, Jan. 30, 2003