Yama Gobo ヤマゴボウ  Indian Pokeweed

Yama Gobo   Pokeweed   /  Indian Pokeweed

Phytolaccaceae acinosa

The scientific name is derived from the Greek word phyton, meaning “plant” and the Latin word lacca a “red dye”.

I’ve read over and over that the leaves develop toxins as they age.

The young leaves are said to be edible.  I have not tried them.

Until the research is fully established, please don’t try them.

The purple-red  fruit looks delicious.  It’s POISONOUS!

Apparently birds enjoy them, so yeah!  All yours my feathered friends.



Crescent Moon Venus 金星 三日月

In the western sky at sunset is a beautiful display of a crescent moon.

Venus is right there highlighting the sky and even stealing the show.

Please forgive the less than amateur photos. With the naked eye it’s really something, and a pair of binoculars lets you see some serious “earthshine”.  Sure hope you make time for this sunset sky magic.

Firefly Lantern ホタルブクロ 蛍袋

Campanula punctata

I’m always excited to spot this flower because I know the fireflies have arrived in the Koyasan area!  Usually late May or early June just before the rainy season.


I always sample a few flowers on my rainy season jaunts.   They are very lightly sweet and quite pleasant.  I don’t recommend the leaves raw as they are a bit hairy and catch in your throat.  Lightly steamed > wonderful!  As always be mindful to check inside the flowers, as bugs love the mild nectar.

The firefly lantern is called “Hotarubukuro” in Japanese.  It is native to Japan and Korea.  The literal translation is “Firefly bag”.  Before the days of electricity people would carry lanterns at night.  The lanterns were nicknamed fireflies.  The English name is Spotted Bell flower or Lantern flower.

The genus name Campanula is from the Italian campana meaning ‘bell’ and refers to the shape of the flowers. The word is from around 1630’s, from Late Latin,campana, originally meant ‘a metal vessel made in Campania,’ the region around Naples. All Campanulas have bell-shaped flowers, although the flower forms vary considerably.
The species name punctata is from the Latin meaning ‘punctuated’ or spotted.
The common name of Spotted bellflower refers to the spots inside the long bells of the species.
Pronounced kam-PAN-yew-lah punk-TAY-tah,