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Single azalea flower blooms red and white in Fukushima

An azalea flower that has bloomed with separate red and white parts is seen in the city of Fukushima on May 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Nobuhiko Muto)

FUKUSHIMA -- In what appears to be a rare sight, an azalea flower which has bloomed in separate red and white colors was spotted and photographed in the yard of a private home in this northeastern Japan city.

    Nobuhiko Muto, 63, took a photo of the unique flower after spotting it on the morning of May 24, just as he was moving a pot of bonsai he was taking care of. The yard has been home to seven azalea plants for about 50 years, and they bloom in full pink every year. The red and white flower was among the last three buds to appear at the end of this year's blooming season.

    Muto said he had never seen a separately colored flower before, but that he had "seen flowers of different colors bloom on one azalea plant." He then added, "I hope something good will happen."

    Hisanori Watanabe, president of the Okanbara Azalea Garden in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Sukagawa, said, "I suppose it may have been caused by a gene mutation. There are about 3,000 azaleas of about 100 species in our garden, but I've never seen a flower like this (in the picture) with such distinctly separate colors," he said.

    (Japanese original by Tatsuro Tamaki, Fukushima Bureau)

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