What Is Japan’s Vegetation Like?

Yoshikazu TAKADA/CC-BY 2.0

Japan contains such vegetation as mangrove swamps, subtropical forests, forest grass, northern forests, blossom trees, alpine plants and forest plants. Subtropical forests are found in the south, and forests containing fir, pine and spruce are located in the north.

Japan has 7,000 indigenous plants in the form of ferns and seed-based plants. Japan’s extreme northern forests can be found in Hokkaido. Alpine plants grow in the higher parts of Shikoku and Honshu.

A notable form of Japanese vegetation is the cherry tree, and the flowers are a national symbol of Japan. Japan has a wide variety of cherry blossoms, but the Somei Yoshino variety is the most popular, consisting of white petals with a hint of pink. The yaezakura bloom large flowers with vibrant, pink petals, and the weeping cherry also bears pink flowers.

Viburnum furcatum is a woodland plant that grows well in soil that is moist and free of lime, and they are adaptable in cooler weather conditions. These shrubs grow in damp areas, and the flowers appear in May. Insects need to pollinate each flower in order for the seeds to emerge in October.

Hakonechloa macra is a type of forest grass that is typically found in the mountains. This plant enjoys shady areas, and it prefers growing on damp, rocky terrain. The leaves have a draping effect, and the grass contains small shoots, similar to bamboo.