Illustrations of Japanese ferns

Dryopteris sacrosancta
Dryopteris sacrosancta
in cultivation

Japan is extraordinarily rich in ferns. Numerous species are already to be found in Western gardens, and there is considerable scope for introductions of further fine ornamental species. There are several excellent books on the ferns of Japan, some of which I possess and others I have seen.

Some of the smaller (and thus more affordable) books are very well illustrated and, although the texts are in Japanese, they are invaluable for their illustrations. I have compiled an index to illustrations in three of the books I possess, and this can be downloaded from this page.

Here, also, is a short, annotated bibliography of works on Japanese ferns (those marked with an asterisk (*) are included in the index to illustrations).


* Itou, Hiroshi (1985) Shida [Ferns]. Hokuryukan, Tokyo.
A rather dull-looking paperback, but full of illustrations (half-tone photographs are so-so, the line drawings excellent).

Iwatsuki, K., T. Yamazaki, D.E. Boufford & H. Ohba (eds.) (1995) Flora of Japan, vol. 1: Pteridophyta. Kodansha, Tokyo.
The first volume of the new English-language flora (not illustrated) contains ferns and conifers. Much expanded compared to Ohwi's flora (so is the price!); some poor English editing, and some of the nomenclature may raise eyebrows. Most usefully, it contains references to published illustrations elsewhere. Online version available: see links, right.

* Mitsuta, Shigeyuki (1986) Shida no zukan [Picture book of ferns]. Hoikusha, Osaka.
Another paperback, containing a novel illustrated key to arbitrary groups of ferns, each fern illustrated with excellent colour photographs, also diagrams of critical details. Illustrates about 200 species. Highly recommended.

Ohwi, Jisaburo (1965) Flora of Japan (in English). Smithsonian Institution, Washington.
Until recently, the only English language Japanese flora; a very few, beautiful line drawings. Good keys to all the ferns then recognized; nomenclature sometimes outdated. Excellent book.

* Tagawa Coloured Illustrations of Japanese Pteridophytes. Hoikusha, Osaka.
A well-known hard-back in a slip case, many times reprinted. Colour photographs of fronds, several to a plate, but still very useful. Illustrated almost 400 ferns and fern allies. Highly recommended.


¤ ¤ ¤

Barnes, P.G. [compiler] Index to illustrations of Japanese Pteridophytes
Includes Latin name, Japanese name, and page number for illustrations in the books by Ito, Mitsuta and Tagawa. This is a PDF file (32KB), requiring Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Click here to read the index