Yama-rintou

Fude-rintou or haru-rintou in Japanese

These wood gentians bloom in well-maintained woodlands and satoyama. They are only a few cm tall.

They have a limited habitat: sun and warmth in spring but when their flowers are in full bloom cool and shade in summer – this means that they grow best under deciduous trees which are this time of the year are just putting out new leaves and let some light through but in the hot summer will have enough leaves to provide the cool shade required. The tiny gentians are easily overwelmed by sasa bamboo grass and other weeds, so they are mostly found in copses and woodlands that are kept clear of tall weeds by regular cutting. In the past, such woodlands were the satoyama were used to obtain wood for fuel and leaves  for compost and were common in the Japanese countryside. Now they are getting harder to find.

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