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Subdivision in types

Type 1 - Hyoujunka - 'Hoshikage'

Type 2 - Otome-zaki ’Yumebotaru’
Hepatica japonica 'Shoosha'
Type 3 - Nidan-zaki -

Type 4 - Nichirin-zaki
- ’Tuyunohikari-kei’
Hepatica japonica 'Loouno o onorimasu'
Type 5 - Chyouji-zaki - 'Inori'

Hepatica japonica 'Honoo'
Type 6 - Karako-zaki 'Honoo'
Hepatica japonica 'Akaoni-kei'

Type 7 - Sandan-zaki - 'Akaoni-kei'

Hepatica nobilis var. japonica exist in three forms - form japonica, form variegata and the most interesting, and the one which everything revolves round - form magna.

Form magna is native to the northwest part of Japan concentrated in the Niigata area and on Sado Island. In this area are found a lot of diverging forms also called mutations. Furthermore this form is the most hardy among the three, and it has the biggest flowers, and the biggest number of anthers and stamens.


The mutations can be in different ways. E.g. the filled flower has mutated all stamens and anthers and they are changed to petals, and it means an infertile flower. But the mutation can be only a part of the flower, so e.g. the pistils are intact, or maybe there can be formed few anthers.
In basis of these different mutations the International Hepatic Society (IHS) has divided the flowers i 9 groups:.  


  1. Hyoujunka
  2. Otome-zaki 
  3. Nidan-zaki
  4. Nichirin-zaki
  5. Chyouji-zaki
  6. Karako-zaki
  7. Sandan-zaki
  8. Senne-zaki
  9. Yousei-zaki


Zaki means flowering. The names of the groups 2-9 all tells something about the flower.


Group 1:

Hyoujunka is the standard flower with normal developed stamens and pistils. It produce pollen and set seeds.


Group 2:

Otome-zaki. Otome means maiden, and it refers to the lacking anthers. It means there will be no pollen while the pistils are normal developed. One can get seeds if pollen is taken from a Hyoujunka. In this way there is no mutation, only the anthers lacks.

This form is well known among the European variety too.

Group 3:

Nidan-zaki. Ni means two, and Nidan means two-layer. It is very clear when one watch the flower, why the group has got this name. There are simply two layers of petals. The outer layer is normal, while the inner is the mutated stamens. The inner consist of flat laying petals, which can have equal or different length.

It means that this group, like Otome-zki, lacks the male organs, while the female are full developed.

Nidan-zaki produce seeds, but like Otome-zaki, one must keep the pollen from somewhere else.


Group 4:

Nichirin-zaki. Nichirin means sun, or a form of decoration behind Bhuda. And the flower resembles a sun, surrounded a ring of short beams. ”The beams” are the mutated stamens, which are changed to short, almost cutted petals. They are laying in a well-organized ring around the full developed pistils. It reminds a great deal of Nidan-zaki, and one can say that it is a cross between Otome-zaki and Nidan-zaki, in the meaning that Nidan has a layer of full developed and full grown inner petals, by Nichirin this layer is cut and by Otome it lacks completely.

It gets seeds if you do the pollination.


Group 5:

Chyouji refers to the shape of the inner petals, which are compared with a garlic composite of many small cloves. The mutated stamens, which are changed to inner petals, are curled and encircle the full developed pistils. Like the previous it can produce seed.


Group 6:

Karako refers to an old Chinese hairstyle. As a difference to the previous mentioned both pistils and stamens are mutated to straight or curled petals. Often one can find pistils, and one must utilise this, because Karako, which it's almost filled form, can produce good F1 plants for further propagation.

Recent the classification of Karako is done more comprehensive, and divided in ”Karako without pistils” and ”Nidan-Karako with pistils”. It is difficult to determine which plants belongs to "Nidan-Karako” because presence of pistils depend of the age of the plant.


Group 7:

Sandan-zaki. San means three – that means the name of this group is ”3-layers flower”. Both stamens and pistils are mutated to petals. The outer layer is the normal petals. The next layer is the mutated stamens, which sometimes can contain pollen. In the middle of the flower one see the mutated pistils, changed to petals.

Because this type sometimes produce pollen, makes it different from the others, because it give the possibility to cross two mutated types as e.g. Sandan and Karako. And that's why Sandan-zaki is the most wanted between Japanese breeders at the time. 


Group 8:

Senne-zaki. Sen means thousand - and that means thousand-layers flower. All pistils as well as stamens are mutated to petals, and it is infertile. Propagation must be done by dividing. Many of these forms are descendant after wild collected plants from Niigata and Sado Island.

Senne-zaki can arise from seed, if one has the right F1 plants.


Group 9:

Yousei-zaki. Yousei means fairy or pixie. The stamens as well as the pistils are mutated to petals and the plant is infertile.  It is the latest introduced type, and it has trait from more of the previous. The type is unstable, because it often, after dividing, lose the filled form and get single flowering. By the way it is a phenomenon that happens for several of the types, but mostly they go back to their original looking when they have recovered themselves.  This behaviour is the natural reaction for surviving.
Gradually there have been a big crossing between the groups, and it can be difficult to decide which group a given plant belongs to.

  Hepatica japonica 'Ranpumidori'
Type 8 - Senne-zaki -  'Ryokkou'


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