Friday, August 17, 2012

Summer explosion of the 300-year-old Crape Myrtle

There is an approximately 300-year-old Crape myrtle by the entrance gate of Sekko-ji Temple.   Since I saw its exposed shining, gigantic, and gnarled trunk with spreading branches in winter, I had longed to see its summer florescence.  This is it!

from top to bottom

The exploding flowers on the overflowing and cascading branches over the temple wall reminded me of Soseki Natsume’s haiku.  

杉垣に昼をこぼれて百日紅     夏目漱石

 Crape Myrtles bloom vigorously in full, uninterrupted light of the scorching sun.

But when you come under the shade of branches and look up, they show soft and tender aspect of the tree.  Lustrous green leaves form a thick canopy of foliage and beautiful large flowers bloom with delicate paper thin petals.


Now you are inside the wall.  Branches and twigs are emanating from the massive gnarled trunk.

Long-lasting flowers are already past their prime, still they are beautiful including fallen petals.


Crape myrtle is 百日紅 in Japanese which literally means “one hundred days crimson .”  The bloom is long-lasting from July to September, about 100 days.  The tree is favored as landscape tree because of striking summer flowers, beautiful autumn foliage, drought tolerance and almost disease free nature. 

Sekko-ji is surrounded by rice paddies at the foot of Mt. Nijyo.  It was founded in 7th or 8th century by Ennogyoja, a magical-religious practitioner who trained himself in Mt. Katsuragi. The 弥勒石仏 Miroku Sekibutsu of this temple is the oldest stone image of Buddha in Japan. The Temple is also known for its beautiful winter peonies (December to January) and spring peonies (April to May).

A post more about crape myrtle:  Japanese Crape Myrtle 


  1. I love seeing this tree from all different perspectives. It feels like I’ve just climbed the marvelous twists and turns of its branches. If only we humans could age and bloom as beautifully and gracefully as this ancient tree … and live in good health for as long! :)

  2. Voilà un arbre qui est vraiment gracieux...

  3. Hello Yoko:
    It does seem extraordinary that this tree has blossomed with such vigour over such a prolonged period. Quite remarkable. The profusion of flowers does make for a stunning display and to last for 100 days is more than anyone could possibly ask. Beautiful!

  4. This ancient tree is standing so proud and so beautiful. We do have crape myrtles here but they are always planted as shrubs or border plants, thus they don't look as spectacular. I'm trying to plant mine as a tree.

  5. What an ancient and stunning tree, I thought our Persian Acacia bloomed for a long time but it does not reach 100 days!

  6. Not many things are lovelier than a that's in bloom or completely bare.

  7. Absolutely beautiful!

    Magnificent tree.

    Havea good weekend.


  8. I'm enthralled by the twisty branches almost as much as the delicate flowers. I also like the fallen petals which lend a fragile beauty where they land.

  9. Nice captures!!! I love the Crepe of the toughest trees you'll find around. Not only a great plant for color and soft tones in the garden but it also creates nice structure during our winter months. I had no idea that I could live that long....amazing.

  10. Dear Yoko,
    Thank you for sharing such lovely pictures from your country with us. The tree is amazing, I love the way the branches twist and the way flowers of myrtle pop out, as if they have a life of their own!
    Lovely post.
    Cheers from Brazil

  11. To drzewo nawet bez kwiatów ma piękne kształty, a z kwiatami jest cudowne. Bardzo podoba mi się jego zdjęcie na tle pól ryżowych. Pozdrawiam cieplutko.
    This tree even without flowers is beautiful shapes, and flowers are wonderful. I really like the picture on the background of the rice fields. Regards warm.

  12. The twisted branches are just as beautiful as the flowers! I wish I could have one on my balcony. I wonder if you get them in bonsai form, too ...

  13. ♡¸.°.¸♫♫♪

    Muito lindo!
    Bom fim de semana!

  14. Crepe Myrtle is one of my favorites--it blooms no matter how hot and dry it gets. The trunk of your crepe myrtle is a "work of art" in itself. Lovely post. Have a great weekend. Mickie :)

  15. よく、夏目漱石の俳句もご存知ですね。

  16. What an extraordinary tree, and to be able to flower for such a long period - every gardner's dream. Love the ancient trunk structure is like a piece of sculpture.
    The photos showing the grass are simply beautiful, the grass is a luminous green.

  17. 300年を超えて、まだ見事な華を咲かせる生命力。ふしくれだち、捻じ曲がった幹がその歴史を感じさせます。

  18. これは,さるすべりともいいますよね。幹がつるつるして。でも今さるすべりを漢字変換すると百日紅となりました。本名は百日紅なのね。

  19. お久しぶりです。百日(サルスベリ)、じつに見事で美しいですね。このお寺、知りませんでした。ご紹介ありがとうございます!!一度行ってみたいです。

    乗鞍と上高地の記事も拝見しました。本当に高山植物がきれい! 私、学生時代、山ガールだったので、なつかしいです。原発の記事には、感銘を受けました。政治家がどうしようもなくだらしがないのは、ほんとに困ったものです。暑さ厳しき折からご自愛ください。

  20. How wondrous your shots! We love crepe myrtles and they are ubiquitous here in central Florida. We had a number at our old house on the east side of Ocala and they always brightened up the place...the only problem was they lost their leaves in the winter and looked like sticks sticking up in the air. Some of them grew up to be big trees. Lots of color, though!

  21. 今年の百日紅も素晴らしいポストですね。暑い!というイメージがどうしてもありますが、、、。樹や花に愛情がないと書けないポストの数々だと思いながらいつも拝読しています。わたしも植物は大好きですが知識に欠けていてただ鑑賞する一方です。

  22. That tree is amazing - a sculpture in winter and a burst of energy and colour in the summer.

    Beautiful pictures.

  23. こんばんは。最近はキョウチクトウばかりが植えてあって、サルスベリはあまり見かけなくなりましたが、この花は見事ですね。

     「散れば咲き 散れば咲きして 百日紅」

  24. Wow, it's so beautiful!
    Wonderful shots of the gorgeous tree.
    Have a great day.

  25. Magnificent pictorial follow up of a beautiful tree in changing seasons. Love the branches - twisted and gnarled - and together with the blooming flowers and the temple.. they make for a splendid setting and atmosphere!

    Have a nice week ahead, Yoko :)

  26. Dear Yoko san - thank you so much for another wonderful post! You always succeed in creating such a calm and peaceful atmosphere with whatever you show us! And so this time again I enjoyed your masterly taken photos of this beautiful flower cascade!
    And look how lovely and Ikebana like this ancient tree in winter appears!
    Waiting longingly for your next treasure! :-)

  27. goergeous shots, I could dive in these colours...lovely presented with the winter shot comparison! happy and sunny week from tulipland to you, dear Yoko!

  28. To see this tree in full bloom must have been really exciting.It seems to have everything,beautiful branches,amazing flowers long blooming period! For centuries many trees must have enjoyed protection within temple grounds.I think in Japan you may have more reverence for trees.
    Lovely photos Yoko!


  29. I'm not sure if we have such a plant, such a tree with these beautiful blossoms at our latitudes as well...
    ...OK, wikipedia tells me that this is a kind of tree normally not cultivated in Europe, so it's time to travel to Japan to take my own photos of this beauty...:-)

  30. The trunks of the myrtle are almost more beautiful than the flowers. I love this tree and I hope that cuttings of it are being grown right now, so that it will live another three hundred years and maybe a thousand.

  31. Great post!
    We have thousands of these beautiful plants here in Texas. But none of them are 300 years old. We have some that are perhaps 100 years old and are like trees. It is nice to see such a wonderful example of this plant in its native habitat. I love the rice paddies photo with the shrine and mountain.
    Thank you.

  32. Hello Yoko!
    So beautiful with these flowering trees. You show so many beautiful things from your country.
    Wish you a nice day and tomorrow.

  33. Such a beautiful tree. Without flowers it is a character but it is transformed into a beauty when in bloom.

  34. Hello Yoko! I have never seen such an old tree. I really didn't think they live that long. That's amazing and your pictures are incredibly beautiful!! The tree in full bloom set against the rice fields and the hills in the, what a setting!!

  35. Wonderful tree and the colours are beautiful:)

  36. I don't know these flowers at all. Your photos are fabulous.

  37. Yokoさん

  38. Amazing Photos :D **New Follower**


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