History of Kurume Azalea
During the Tenpo era (1830-1844), Motozo Sakamoto (1785-1854), a retainer of the Kurume feudal clan, contrived an azalea seeding method “Method of germinating seeds on moss”. He planted azalea seedlings artificially and produced new varieties. The number of Kurume azalea varieties reached about 200 at the end of the Edo period.
In addition to azalea lovers, nursery men began to breed Kurume azaleas and more than 500 new varieties were produced during the Meiji era (1868-1912). The production of Kurume azaleas increased at the late Showa era because of new market for public greening plants.
It seemed that Kurume azalea group came to be known as Kurume tsutsuji after 1945 in Japan. This azalea group originally called Kokirishima and Eizanko. In 1895, some azalea lovers named this azalea group Kinkoka. On the other hand, Akashi Korakuen nursery named this azalea group Kurume tsutsuji from the end of the Meiji era.