A Visit to the Yaeyama Palm Reserve on Ishigaki Island
NOTE: Images with an icon next to them have been artificially shrunk to better fit your screen; click the icon to restore them, in place, to their regular size.
Big Leaf but I don't really know how big, 'cause I forgot to include something for comparison -- Ishigaki, Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Leaf
but I don't really know how big, 'cause I forgot to include something for comparison

It's been a while since I posted anything from our trip last May to Ishigaki Island in the far south of Japan, the previous post on the subject having been“Anthony Gets Crabby”, from toward the end of the trip's third day.

We started off Day 4, the last day of the trip, taking a drive up the center of the island to the fairly remote, complexly-named Yonehara Yaeyama-Palm Reserve (米原ヤエヤマヤシ群落). For us it consisted of a mildly jungle-like path where you can see some tall palm trees that are apparently found only in this part of the world.

Prior to reaching the palm trees, there's a huge variety of vegetation. Just off the parking lot, I liked the semi-transparent leaf that opens this post, viewed from below and back-lit by the sun. I just can't remember whether it was two inches across or two feet across. Probably closer to the latter, as there were a lot of big plants on the island (such as these ferns I posted last year).

Then there were these sort of creepy trees with wart-like fruit....

Sort of Creepy -- Ishigaki, Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Sort of Creepy

A sign referred to them as giran'inubiwa (ギランイヌビワ), which is apparently the Japanese name for the scientific ficus variegata var. sycomoides, which is apparently some kind of fig or mulberry. Was sort of creepy to me.

Here, The Creepy Sort of Sneaks Up on You at least in the full-size version you get when clicking through -- Ishigaki, Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Here, The Creepy Sort of Sneaks Up on You
at least in the full-size version you get when clicking through

Anyway, the palm trees were indeed really tall, but I am never able to capture height in these situations....

Tall Palms take my word for it -- Ishigaki, Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/400 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Tall Palms
take my word for it

Hah, now that I think about it, compare that photo to the lead photo on “A Visit to Kyoto's Sanzen-in Temple, Part II”, of some very tall cedars... the composition is almost identical! I guess I need to try something new.

The base of these trees appears to be a thick bundle of stringy roots, much like a super-duper-sized version of bamboo roots....

Base of the Tree -- Ishigaki, Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Base of the Tree

These trees are called yaeyamayashi (ヤエヤマヤシ), “Yaeyama” referring to the small cluster of islands that makes up the small southern section of Okinawa prefecture where we were, and “yashi” meaning “palm tree”. As best I can tell its scientific name is satakentia liukiuensis. According to the IUCN it grows only on this and one nearby island. I didn't really know any of this when I was there, and wouldn't have really cared much if I had; it was just a pretty place to take a stroll.

It's interesting to see that the big bundle of roots survives long after the tree has died and rotted away....

Gaping Hole just over a foot across -- Ishigaki, Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 38 mm — 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Gaping Hole
just over a foot across
Zippy Little Friend -- Ishigaki, Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, cropped — 1/200 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Zippy Little Friend

While we were there, I noticed a little gecko-ish lizard on the trunk of one of these trees. He was difficult to see, and moved quickly, but Anthony had a great time following him. Here he is on one of the root bundles...

Michelangelo's Inspiration? -- Ishigaki, Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/125 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Michelangelo's Inspiration?

I find the root “strings” almost mesmerizing. It looks as if they were made by pumping huge quantities of Play-Doh through a colander. Freaky.


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

Are you planning to get the 24mm f/1.4 lens? It looks impressive from all the info out there so far.

No specific plans, but once it’s actually available I’ll probably consider it. I keep forgetting that my Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is a DX lens, so it would be nice to have something to replace it. What I’m really after now is a Nikon mount Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5…. if anyone knows where to procure one, I’d love to hear about it. —Jeffrey

— comment by John on March 18th, 2010 at 2:18am JST (7 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Lovely greens and I like all those different species of trees.

— comment by Andrew on March 21st, 2010 at 12:42am JST (7 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

The palms should indeed be Satakentia liukiuensis. The species is restricted to Ishigaki Island (Yonehara) and Iriomote Island , acccording to Genera Palmarum, 2nd ed. I can’t think of any other feather palm that would be native to the area.

I’m surprised at how tall the trees appear to be. Maybe astonished is a better word. The photo reminds me of Archontophoenix palms in Queensland rain forest.

My two young ones in central Florida suffered serious cold damage to the leaves this winter, thanks to cold that wasn’t very deep, but extremely persistent.

I don’t think the islands are much visited by English-speaking tourists, so your photos would be of interest to palm enthusiasts. In Florida, Satakentia liukiuensis (Satake palm) is somewhat popular for its feathery leaves which resemble coconut, but are more compact and tidier. Satakentia also seems slightly more cold-resistant than coconut. Satakentia trunks grow relatively slowly, so large nursery-grown specimens are costly.

The gaping hole is similar to the remains of native Florida cabbage palms, Sabal palmetto.

— comment by David Martin on April 6th, 2010 at 8:18am JST (7 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink
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