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Ezo nyuu (Angelica ursina – “bear’s angelica”) of Rishiri

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

リシリヒナゲシの咲く麓から
エゾニュウ群生 島を周回する道路際や海岸草原で見られるエゾニュウ。

背が高いことから、目立つ。

今年は6月末の暑さからだろうか、いつもより多くエゾニュウが咲いているようだ。

july-13-4-ezo-nyuu_0

Ezo-nyuu –  you see them in the grass fields and on roadside along the coastline of Rishiri Island.  Because of their height, they stand out and are quite noticeable. This year more Ezo-nyuu than usual can be seen.  I wonder if that is because of the hot  days we had on the island in late June ?  ~~~ Eiji Nishiya, FOM Rishiri, Japan  – Mt. Rishiri in the background

Towering above the surrounding lush summer herb growth stands the hollow-stemmed monster known locally as Ezo nyuu (and to botanists as Angelica ursina – “bear’s angelica”). These plants appear at the height of summer, a potent reminder that the longest days are past and that, despite the heat, autumn is not far around the corner.

The umbel (flower head) of Angelica ursina has many small white flowers on thin stems attached to a main stalk.  Their flowers fade in a matter of weeks, but their weathered, dried stems are strong and persist even into winter, when they rattle and buzz as the wind vibrates them, scattering their tiny seeds.

This tall perennial can be found in damp, cool places, along roadsides, around marshland edges and in sunny woodlands, wherever there is plenty of moisture. It grows in central and northern Japan, in China, and in areas of Russia surrounding the Sea of Okhotsk.

Whereas many members of the Angelica family may only grow to heights of between 50 cm and a meter, the bear’s angelica is a monster – the largest in the family – reaching a height of 3 to 3.5 meters!

Since he came ashore on or about July 1, 1848 – mid-summer – no doubt Ranald saw plenty of these giant Angelica ursina growing in the grass fields of Rishiri Island.

july-13-2-ezo-nyuu

Photos by Eiji Nishiya, FOM Japan

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