Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Welcome at the last episode of this month's theme-week. This week I only used plants to inspire you and I enjoyed it a lot. Today another classical spring kigo from the section "plants" Acanthopanax (Ukogi). This plant is also known as Siberian Ginseng, but it has also something Dutch in it. It was discovered by a German fellow named Phillip Franz Von Siebold, who created the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden The Netherlands. (This you can see in the Latin name of this plant, Eleutherococcus Sieboldianus.)
Let me tell you a little bit more about our prompt for today, Acanthopanax (or Eleutherococcus Sieboldianus):
|Eleutherococcus Sieboldianus (flowering)|
Perhaps the best known in the West is the species E. senticosus used as herbal medicine, and commonly known by such English names as Eleuthero or Siberian ginseng. In Traditional Chinese medicine, this is administered to increase energy, thus traditionally recognized to have attributes akin to true ginseng (Panax). This is also reflected in its formerly used genus name Acanthopanax meaning "thorny ginseng". The word "Eleutherococcus," from Greek, means "free-berried."
The Japanese name ukogi borrows directly from the Chinese name (wujia), and refers somewhat broadly to several plants in the genus. A 10th century herbalogy text, Honzō wamyō, introduced the Chinese wujia as an herb to be pronounced mu-ko-gi, refers specifically to E. sieboldianus (Japanese name: hime-ukogi).
Several species are also grown as ornamental garden shrubs. In Japan, they have been planted as hedges. Particularly in Yamagata Prefecture, a daimyō named Uesugi Yōzan encouraged the planting of the ukogi as fencing around the homes of samurai retainers (E. sieboldianus was planted in the region), and the bitter young buds, leaves and stems have traditionally been picked and eaten as vegetable in the area. However, since the plant is deciduous, it requires sweeping in the fall (high maintenance), and the bare hedges fail to protect the homeowner's privacy.
As I was preparing this episode I tried (again) to find haiku in which this kigo is used, but (again) I couldn't find any example of a haiku with this kigo, but if it's in the classical Japanese Saijiki than I suppose that there have to be haiku in which this word is used. .... or else .... well than we are the first to use it ...