Japan 2014

Wednesday 29th October

We started our hike along a track to the Mifune Falls. As usual in a new location, ferners scattered in all directions, so it took some persuasion on Asher’s part to shepherd us across a wooden bridge to the first two of the star ferns of the day – the lovely little hairy Pleurosoriopsis makinoi growing on a rock at a convenient height for photography, and Polypodium faurei. A short walk up hill was rewarded by a view of the waterfall, cascading over rocks between trees turning to their Autumn colours. Ferns were all around – Athyrium clivicola, Arachniodes mutica, Monachosorum maximowiczii, Hymenophyllum barbatum, and Coniogramme intermedia to name a few. We retraced our steps to the small road by the River Ikari, to walk downhill to Morimori-kan. We soon had some revision of Polystichums, seeing P. polyblepharum, P. ovatopaleaceum, P. pseudomakinoi, and P. retrosopaleaceum all within a short distance of each other. Just as we were thinking we were sorting these out, Mr. Yamazumi showed us three hybrids in fairly quick succession – P. x amboversum, P. x hatajukuense, and P. x namegatae – the latter conveniently growing next to both parents. There were so many things to look at that the group became very spread out, some people climbing down to the river gorge. Perhaps this was when a new collective noun, a delay of Pteridologists, was invented. Mr. Yamazumi pointed out a fourth Polystichum hybrid, P. x ongataense, the hybrid of P. ovatopaleaceum and P. pseudomakinoi. Our next star fern was Woodsia manchuriensis; several plants growing on the roadside bank. A little further on we found the ‘advance’ party sitting by the roadside having lunch, having not quite reached the intended lunch-time picnic place. We were briefly all together, but as the afternoon walk took us through woodland alternating with more sunny sites, it brought an even greater range of ferns and the group was soon widely dispersed again. Ferns of note here included Monachosorum flagellare, Loxogramme grammitoides, Dryopteris dickinsii, Cornopteris decurrenti-alata, and Acystopteris japonica.

We all gathered together again outside the café at Morimori-kan, where the adventurous amongst us tried some dried venison, and crunchy black beans in brown sugar, whilst Kazuo caught a couple of fish in the river to help a fisherman who was struggling with arthritis. Mr Yamazumi then said that there was Pyrrosia linearifolia a little way down the road, so a group of us set off to see it. The first clump we saw was way above our heads, so Asher climbed up the cliff to take a frond – then we noticed the plants within easy reach! We also saw Deparia okubuana and D. orientalis.

The second site on our itinerary for the day was Fudu-kutsu. A short bus ride took us to a small riverside track, then after a brisk walk past warning signs about bears and snakes we reached the target fern, Micropolypodium okuboi, growing on a rock face in very low light, along with Hymenophyllum barbatum. Tim noticed a little fern on the rock close by, which he identified as Lepidomicrosorium buergerianum. We later realised that it was a small plant of what our guides referred to as Neocheiropteris subhastata, which we were fortunate to see in well-grown colonies on our last hiking day near Kyoto. On our way back, our guide Miss Onoue showed us Asplenium pseudowilfordii, growing on a rock by the river. The light was fading as we walked back, but we still managed to record more than 50 species at this site, bringing the total for the day to around 96 taxa. Another amazing day

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