yakushima plants

Yakushima Flowers

Yakushima plants amount to around 1,900 species which is coincidentally about the same number of insect species. Of the 1,900 species, around 1,200 are flowering plants. Yakushima was recognized by UNESCO in 1993 as having the best example of bio-diversity in East Asia. This remark echoes that given by Ernest Henry Wilson 80 years previously. Indeed, Yakushima has the floral range of Japan (from Hokkaido to Okinawa) on this one island. Sub-tropical plants are found in the southern coastal region of the island and sub-alpine plants are found in the central highlands.

Yakushima is the southern limit for 230 species and the northern limit for 70 species.

Although Yakushima plants are in bloom throughout the year, the best time to visit should you wish to see the island at its floral best would be late spring (April – June).

Yakushima Moss

There are around 1,800 bryophytes (mosses, liverworts & hornworts) in Japan and upon Yakushima there are 665 species. Of these 600, then 16 are native to Yakushima and 3 of these are considered endangered. Yakushima is a great haven for mosses and this becomes very obvious as soon as you arrive to the island. Moss exists everywhere on the island, but most are found in the forests and mountains. Aside from looking extremely photogenic, moss plays a very important ecological role in the forests of Yakushima.

Moss is a delicate species and visitors are requested not to stand upon it as they hike through the forest. Please keep within the trail boundary and do not be tempted to wander off the trail for that essential selfie as in the process you are likely to stand upon and kill a community of moss.

For visitors wishing to learn a great deal more about the moss and Yakushima plants then consider booking a YES forest tour such as the Shiratani Unsuikyo Tour and the Yakusugi Land Tour.