Kochia

Birchaceae Origin: South Europe (From China)
Green leaves: early July to mid September, Autumn leaves: early to mid October

In October, kochias (summer cypress) turns the Miharashi hills from green to crimson against the backdrop of the ocean and sky. Cosmoses cover the hillside with flowers of white, pink, and red. Hitachi Seaside Park is in full swing in autumn. When the spring nemophila blooming is over, it’s time for the kochias. The change from green to crimson is truly dynamic: the Kochia Carnival has started!

Q.What is Kochia?

A. Its Japanese name is “Houki Gusa” which means “Broom Grass”. This name was given to it due to the fact that the plant is used to make brooms, which are produced by simply tying several dried plants together, using the branches as the broom head and the stems as the handle; this is convenient since the broom needs no separate handle. In Japan the seeds are used a food garnish called “tonburi” in Japanese. Because its texture is similar to caviar, it has been called “land caviar”, “field caviar”, and “mountain caviar”. It is a chinmi, or delicacy, in Akita prefecture. The glossy, greenish black seeds are dried, boiled, soaked, and then rubbed by hand to remove the skin. But in Hitachi Seaside Park the Kokia are only for ornamental use.

Q. How do you plant seeds?

A. We don’t plant seeds, but rather plant small Kochia plants of about 10 to 15 cm every June. About 32.000 holes are dug, after which each Kochia plant is planted manually.