But remembering what most of the kanji were that I wrote down yesterday morning, I did something I've been intending to do for a while: pulled out my H&S kanji dictionary, opened it to the 'grasses' radical section, and spent another ninety minutes happily writing down grass radical kanji and googling the names for pictures. Botany was never my strong point so, you know, telling me something is vetch or a mallow or an oleaster is less than useless. But seeing pictures (of these truly undistinguished roadside shrubs) does help.
However, I must say this: English or Japanese, the field flowers and plants that get mentioned in literature are indeed scrubby little weeds to my city child's eye. No inherent beauty: nothing to get worked up about. I can just- just- see how they look different to someone who lives among them and has a reason to pay attention to them. I was astounded, many years ago, visiting an English friend and her three year old son, and going for a walk and accidentally touching a stinging nettle. My friend told the little boy to go find a dockweed for my hand: and he did, within minutes. Amazing. But still: dockweeds are nothing to *look* at.