Friday, June 15, 2012

Chindo Sweet Viburnum

We have at least nine chindo (shin-DOE) sweet viburnum plants
growing in our little patch of woods.
They have glossy green leaves:

They grow very, very tall in sun or heavy shade,
make a nice cover for birds,
and form an attractive and quick-growing evergreen screen:

The chindo viburnum is not native to the Shire or even North America.
It seems so many of our beloved plants
and flowers are "borrowed" from Asia,
and that is the case with the viburnum.

The chindo sweet viburnum is native to Japan and South Korea.
The type of viburnum we have here--awabuki sweet viburnum
(awabuki, pronounced ah wah BOOKee)--was taken from
Iwabuki, Japan, which is in the shadow of Mount Takayama,
 north of Osaka and northwest of Kyoto.
I saw the name awabuki in Japanese kanji characters
and thought it would be fun to include them here:


The particular variety of viburnum we have
is called an awabuki sweet viburnum "chindo."
According to Douglas Justice,
University of British Columbia Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research,
the chindo viburnum was collected by J. C. Raulston
of the North Carolina State University Arboretum
when he visited the South Korean Island of Jindo in 1985.
According to the website,
Raulston was impressed with the plant's masses of bright red berries.

I have seen red berries on our oldest viburnum,
but they are few in number and not (yet?) spectacular. Ours do flower, however.
Here are some flower bracts that just finished their creamy white blooms:

This next photo is not great quality, but after I looked at it,
I realized the flowers only bloomed on the side facing the sun:

I know it's science, but I still find that kind of phenomenon wondrous.
The chindo viburnum is connected to another wondrous phenomenon.
Come back tomorrow and see why the chindo viburnum's home island
of Jindo, South Korea 
is where something called  the "Moses Miracle" unfolds.

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