The Shuro palm is Tokyo’s most loved weed. You can find it in formal gardens and back streets.

From humble backyards to formal gardens, it seems Tokyo-ites cannot resist the self-sowing Shuro palm tree. This fan palm was used for making strong rope in Edo times, and its resilience and lovability makes it visible almost everywhere in Tokyo.

Weeds shooting up


Rainy season propels city weeds, and signals the start of our jungle-like summer.

Dandelion and dokudami, Shibuya. Related: see previous post about dokudami weed, and reader comments about edible versions in Vietnam.

Crow melon and Imperial Palace pruning


Walking around the Imperial Palace recently, I noticed what look like roma tomatoes growing on a wall. This vine is a famous weed called “crow melon” (カラス・ウリ). Apparently, it gets its name because it provides food for crows. The plants seems as resilient and citified as its avian namesake.

On the same walk, we noticed a boat in the Imperial Palace moat with guys using a small net to pick up leaves. Perhaps the trees above were pruned, and some fell into the moat. The meticulousness of the moat cleaning makes an interesting contrast for the untamed wildness of the crow melon vine and its avian companions.

Spring weed

I have been noticing this weed with beautiful purple and white flowers all over Tokyo. It must be very hardy since it grows in the cracks of sidewalks and walls. Volunteer plants play an important role in urban nature, and show nature’s resilience despite our over-built environment.