Buds of trees (konome)


Buds of trees (ko no me, konome)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: All spring and see below
***** Category: Plant


Tree buds, who would not think of spring immediately. And in Japan, a lot of the sprouts end up on the dinner table and are eaten as tempura or in miso soup.

Some buds are early, some later in spring. Their beauty and vitality has been the theme of poetry since olden times. Their colors range from light greet to pink or even red.

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tree buds, buds of trees, ko no me 木の芽 (このめ)

buds from special trees with names, nanoki no me
(like maples etc. see below)

..... ki no me きのめ、medachi 芽立(めだち)
..... kigi no me 木々の芽 buds of many trees
mebuku 芽吹く(めぶく)budding, buds coming out
budds are swelling, ko no me haru 木の芽張る(このめはる)

rain on the tree buds, konome ame

mountain with budding trees, konome yama

fence of budding trees, konome gaki

sprout, tiller, shoot, bud, hikobae 蘖 (ひこばえ)
..... hikobayu ひこばゆ , yago やご
late spring
Coming out of cut-down trees or from the side of the stem or branches, they show great vitality and life energy.


mulberry tree buds, kuwa no me 桑の芽(くわのめ)

buds of the willow, yanagi no me 柳の芽 (やなぎのめ)
..... me yanagi 芽柳(めやなぎ),
budding willow trees, mebari yanagi 芽ばり柳(めばりやなぎ)

mountain pepper buds, sanshoo no me
山椒の芽 (さんしょうのめ)
Also pronounced as "ki no mi" 木の実.

maple buds, kaede no me 楓の芽 (かえでのめ )

buds of the Chinese matrimony vine, kuko no me

picking buds of the kuko vine, kuko tsumu 枸杞摘む(くこつむ)
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They are used for Chinese medicine (kampo), so are the little red fruit later in the year.

tara no me, buds of the angelica tree
楤の芽 (たらのめ)
..... tara no me 多羅の芽(たらのめ), udo modoki うどもどき、udome うどめ、tarame たらめ、
picking tara buds, tara tsumu 楤摘む(たらつむ)
They are a delicacy prepared as tempura ! and have the taste of spring. In my area, many people pick the wild ones in the afternoon to have them real fresh for their dinner.

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devil's walking stick (tree), Japanese angelica tree
(Aralia elata), tara no ki たらの木 (たらのき, タラノキ)

and one more TARA kigo

tara no hana 楤の花 (たらのはな) aralia flowers
kigo for early autumn


.............................. Category SEASON

time for the tree buds, ko no me doki, konomedoki
木の芽時 (このめどき)

..... medachi doki 芽立時(めだちどき)

before the budding, medachi mae 芽立前(めだちまえ)

wind on the tree buds, konome kaze 木の芽風(このめかぜ)

spring wind on tree buds, konome harukaze 木の芽春風
spring rain on tree buds, konomi haruzame 木の芽春雨

fine weather on tree buds, konome bare 木の芽晴(このめばれ)

© Photo by Gabi Greve, 2007


kigo for early autumn

aki no me 秋の芽 (あきのめ) sprouts, buds in autumn
..... akime 秋芽


kigo for all winter

fuyume 冬芽 (ふゆめ) buds in winter
..... tooga 冬芽(とうが)
fuyuki no me 冬木の芽(ふゆきのめ)buds of winter trees

. . . . .

kigo for mid-winter

toojime 冬至芽 (とうじめ) buds at the winter solstice

. kiku no toojime 菊の冬至芽(きくのとうじめ)
chrysanthemum budding at the winter solstice

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


朝夕に 雫のふとる 木の芽哉
asayuu ni shizuku no futoru konome kana

morning and evening
the dew swells
on the buds

Chiyo-ni (1703-1775)
Tr. Patricia Donegan & Yoshie Ishibashi


hito shizuku koboshite nobiru konome kana

one drop falls
and it swells -
this tree bud

有井諸九 . Arai Shokyuu (1714~1781)
Tr. Gabi Greve


Some Haiku by Issa

kigi ono-ono nanori idetaru ko no me kana

every tree
with its calling card...
spring buds

kigi mo me o hiraku ya mida no honganji

the tree buds, too
open up...
Amida's Hongan Temple

. Honganji 本願寺 Hongan-Ji, Hongwanji . Kyoto

miyama-gi no me dashi mo aezu kuware keri

deep mountain trees--
soon as buds appear
they're eaten

bara no me mo mina-mina hito ni kuware keri

even wild rose buds--
all eaten
by people

Tr. David Lanoue


kigi no me ya shintaku no niwa totonowazu

The buds come out on the trees,
But the garden of the new house
Is not yet natural.

Masaoka Shiki 正岡子規
Tr. Blyth

Blyth's comment:

Thoreau says, of Wealland [s/b Welland] Canal:
"In the lapse of ages, Nature will recover and indemnify herself, and gradually plant fit shrubs and flowers along its borders....Thus all works pass directly out of the hands of the architect into the hands of Nature, to be perfected."

But what is interesting in Shiki's verse is the fact that it is the buds of the trees that bring out in reverse, the newness of the garden.

Related words

BUDS of other plants

peony buds, botan no me 牡丹の芽 (ぼたんのめ)
early spring
These plants are rather indifferent toward the cold.

rose buds, bara no me 薔薇の芽 (ばらのめ)
early spring
The rose buds are a bit later than the peonies, usually in March. Some start in tints of pink, others rather green, some are round, some rather oblongated, others quite sharp. You can feel the power of life in these small buds.


blue spring sky -
the sound of a bud
ready to burst

rosebuds in snow -
the softness of his hand
on my shoulder

© Photos and Haiku by Gabi Greve, 2007


Buds of trees as food and KIGO for spring

***** . PLANTS in all seasons - SAIJIKI

***** Young leaves (wakaba, Japan)

Photo © Gabi Greve



Anonymous said...

still hesitating
moments before dawn,
a dewy rose bud


Anonymous said...

fales spring
on the rose bud
morning frost



Anonymous said...

Your page on the buds of trees, Gabi san, is superb -- a joy to read and see!

Isabelle (from a cold evening in Brussels)


Anonymous said...

Excellent page, dear Gabi san. Thank you so much!
I hope our haiku friends will find inspiration.

Anonymous said...

grandma's birthday-
several buds come out
of a dry branch

Rita Odeh

Gabi Greve said...

Thanks for visiting, Rita!

Anonymous said...

chestnut buds
reaching for the sky --
white clouds

the blue sky --
swelling buds

Photo is here

Isabelle Prondzynski