Yakushima, Japan Adventure - Sugi
Yakushima photos - Yaku-sugi
The most amazing thing about the Sugi "cedar" of Yaku-shima is the life they have, and share. These trees grow and grow. They grow together, and they support other plant life. As many as 30 different species of trees, herbs, plants, and mosses have been observed growing from the surface of some of the greater sugi trees here. Some of the photos below also show all these symbiotic life forms.
Yayoi Sugi (cedar)
Yayoi Sugi cedar. Height 26.1 meters. Circumference at shoulder height: 8.1 meters. Age: about 3000 years. Altitude: 710 meters. Epiphytes (plant life growing from the surface of the Sugi): about 10 listed.
Epiphytes on Yayoi Sugi: these small trees grow from a recess on the side of the trunk. Other plants grow from the branches higher up, or even the lofty crown sometimes.
Sen-nen Sugi (1000 years)
The rich, dense forest, and the constant damp climate and rainfall make this rainforest ecosystem unique in the world.
Epiphytes on Kigen sugi: A great example of these trees, mosses, and plants growing off the side of a cedar.
Kigen Sugi. Height: 19.5m; Circumference at shoulder height: 8.1m; Age: 3000 years; Altitude: 1230m; Epiphytes: about 13 listed.
Unfortunately, many of the most stately, prime Yaku-sugi trees were chopped down as gifts for shoguns and rulers during the past several hundred years. As a result, the remaining sugi are some of the least representative specimens - they were left behind because of some flaw or another in their location or shape. Here is a view from inside of one of the remaining hollowed-out stumps.
And a cedar which fell over many years ago and is slowly decomposing back into this rich forest.
The Wilson stump: a tall, splendid cedar specimen once stood here.
The famous Jomon Sugi is in a deep, dark place high up the island mountain. The hike there and back requires the full day, and usually more is recommended. Camping in mountain huts en route is the norm.
Front view of Jomon Sugi. This tree is estimated to be the oldest Cedar "sugi" here left intact. Shogun and emperors in earlier eras of Japan cut down the well-formed, tall and straight cedar trees. Jomon Sugi has a unique, hunched and buckled shape. It's age is estimated at from 3000 to 7000 or more years.
Fuufu Sugi: The Husband-and-wife Cedar. The trees are joined by the horizontal branch between them. Although not uncommon in the dense forest of this island, this is the most pronounced example of trees growing together.
3rd-generation cedar: this tree is estimated to be nearly 400 years old. According to the diagram, remnants of the parent and grandparent ancestors of this tree are visible.