Name: Hagi (萩) bush clover
Seasonal Association: Autumn
When To Wear It: August to mid-October
Historically, hagi seeds were ground and mixed with rice while hagi leaves were used as a tea substitute, although both these practices have fallen out of favour now. Hagi is a member of aki no nanakusa (the seven flowers or grasses of autumn). It’s not known who originally grouped these plants together as a representation of autumn, but their presence in even the oldest of Japanese poetry speaks to their timelessness as an autumn motif. Hagi is the most famous member of aki no nanakusa, possibly because it was prominently featured in a scene from The Tale of Genji. Finally, the association between hagi and autumn is so strong, that the kanji for hagi even includes the kanji for autumn (秋-aki).
Aki no nanakusa (秋の七草):
The seven flowers or grasses of autumn. It’s unknown who first put together this group of plants as a representation of autumn, but it is a classic theme of even the oldest Japanese poetry.
hagi (bush clover)
susuki (pampas grass)
nadeshiko (dianthus, pink, or wild carnation)
ominaeshi (valerian or maiden flower)
kikyo (Chinese bellflower) NB: occasionally, asagao (morning glory) is substituted for kikyo.
For more information on aki no nanakusa, check out http://www.urasenke.org/flowers/autumn.php
Hagi is shown as an oval leaf with a single vein running down the middle. The leaves have very smooth edges and there are always three leaves per cluster.
Three classic examples of hagi.