“Sansai/Wild Mountain Plants” are around the corner so I thought it might be a good idea to draw people’s attention back to them for easier reference! They also include wild fruit that can be eaten both as vegetables and fruit with various preparations.
Some can be boiled, others fried, prepared as tempura, cooked in soup, prepared as pickles or jam, etc.
As it would become far too big (already massive, but inexhaustive) a posting if I wrote everything, please pick up one item at a time if you want more explanations and I will write an individual article for your pleasure!
But some have added some since the last time I wrote about them and I added some facts!
Here we go:
(No particular order)
AINU NEGI: ALIUM VICTORIALIS
Also called: GYOUJA NINIKU/VICTORY ONION/ALPINE LEEK
High in Vitamin B1
AKEBI: CHOCOLATE VINE
High in Potassium, Vitamin B1, B2, B6, C and vegetal fibers.
Provide great stamina!
AMADOKORO: POLYGONATUM ODORATUM
FUKINOTO: GIANT BUTTERBUR/FLOWER CLUSTER
High in Vitamin A Beta carotene, B1, B2, b6, C, vegetal Fibers and Potassium.
HAMABOUFUU: GLEHNIA LITTORALIS
HANGONSOU: SENECIO CANNABIFOLIUS
HASUKAPPU: LONICERA CAERULEA/HASCUP
HIKAGEHEGO: FLYING SPIDER MONKEY TREE FERN
IRAKUSA: URTICA THUNBERGIANA
ITADORI: JAPANESE KNOTWEED
KATAKURI: DOGTOOTH VIOLET
Flowers are also edible.
KIBOUSHI: PLANTAIN LILY HOSTA FORTINEI ( a variety of Hosta Montana)
KOGOMI: OSTRICH FERN (exists as green and red)
Great plant as it needs no special procees to erase tanginess.
High Carotenes, Vitamin C, Amino acids and vegetal fibers.
KOSHIABURA : ASCATHOPANAX SCIADOPHYLLOIDES
KUKO: CHINESE WOLFBERRY
KUSAGI: HARLEQUIN GLORY BOWER PEANUT BUTTER SHRUB
MATATABI: SILVER VINE
MITSUBA: JAPANESE HONEYWORT
NIRINSOU: ANEMONE FLACCIDA
NOBIRU: ALIUM MACROSTEMON
High in Vitamin C, Carotenes, Calcium, Potassium and vegetal fibers.
OYAMABOKUCHI: SYNURUS PUNGENS
RYOUBU: CLERTHRA BARBINERVIS
SARUNASHI: ACTINIA ARGUTA
SERI: JAPANESE PARSLEY
SUBERIYU: COMMON PURSLANE
TAKENOKO: BAMBOO SHOOTS (SPROUTS)
TARA NO ME: ARALIA ELATA
High in Potassium, Vitamin A Beta Carotenes, B2 and vegetal fibers.
High in Potassium, Magnesium, Carotenes and Vitamin E.
TSUROGANENINJIN: ADENOPHORA TRIPHYLLA
UDO: ARALIA CORDATA
High in Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin B1, C, Pantotene acid.
Helps combat human body acidity.
YAMAUDO: same as UDO (above)
URUI: HOSTA MONTANA
Can be eaten raw.
Great in salads. Have become a common vegetable in Japan.
WARABI: PTERIDIUM AQUILINUM/BRACKEN
High Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin B2, C, E and vegetal fibers.
YAMABUDO: CRIMSON GLORY VINE
YAMAWASABI: WILD HORSERADISH
ZENMAI: OSMUNDA JAPONICA/ROYAL FERN
High in Potassium, Vitamin A Beta Carotenes, B2, B6, C and vegetal fibers.
FUKI:JAPANESE BUTTERBUR/GIANT BUTTERBUR
High in Potassium, Calcium, Vitamin B2 and vegetal fibers.
Still have to find the English names for the following ones!
AKAMIZU/ELATOSTEMA UMBELLATUM var. NAJUS
Found the name!
Not to be confused with absinthe!
Found the name!
RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Bento Boutique, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Esmeralda’s s Quiet Life
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20 thoughts on “Sansai/Edible Wild Japanese Mountain Vegetables”
Thank you Robert-Gilles for this site. Great stuff, I’m particularly interested in wetland/bog/aquatic edibles both cultivated or wild or ‘weeds’, sadly wild and weeds are often eaten by the locals but not talked about as they are not economical plants… any links/sources of info will be kindly received. thanks jeremy. firstname.lastname@example.org
ps I know it’s off topic, but are there any insects commonly eaten? or freshwater crustaceans?
In Japan they still eat grasshoppers and wasp larvae. See https://shizuokagourmet.com/2012/02/21/insects-bugs-gastronomy-in-japan-not-for-the-squeamish/
Freshwater crustaceans include river crabs. Some people also eat fresh water crayfish.
Yukinoshita is Saxifraga stolonifera – not to be confused with rex-type begonias which are also called Beefsteak geranium!
NOKANZOU is daylily, Hemerocallis fulva. Shoots are edible, also flowers.
Thank you so much for the information!
Thank you, DragonLife, for your kind reply re Akamizu seeds. Can you clarify, however, whether this plant grows in the United States wild?
Somehow, I got the impression that it is not found here. I cannot find demographics on it.
ありがとうございます！ = Thank you!
As far as I know Akamizu grows quite high in mountains and are collected in March~June. Akamizu is the red variety. There is also a green variety/Aomizu.
My impression is that it grows only in Japan. It is considered a rarity here.
The defintion of sansai is that it is maountain vegetable. In Japan they are collected only in the wild. Some are very common, even considered as invasive, some are rare.
But one thingis sure, they are popular and very healthy!
Great work. This is a wonderful site.
Can you tell me a source for Akamizu seeds or young plants in the United States. Comment appreciated.
Actually, these plants are wild!
Thanks for the link, my friend!
Great post. I was just wondering what you can do with Itadori?
Boiled, tempura, steamed or fried!
Dear Robert-Gilles, greetings from the other side of the world!
Nice work!, I was just wondering, is there any flavor/fragrance difference between Yomogi and the common mugwort? Kind regards.
Thank you so much fr your kindcomments!
Yomogi, as coapred to common mugwort is almost sweet and has little astrigency. It can be cooked as tempura without any special preparation!
Whoa…the “Flying Spider Monkey Tree Fern” looks like it would eat me before I could eat it!
They certainly have funny names!
Wow! I wonder how many of these I could find at stores in the International District here in Seattle?
Keep an eye on the supermarkets, even in Seattle. As for Canada, you mighexpect them in May~June!