Micro-Season: “Plants Show Their First Buds” (2023)

We have entered the micro-season of “Plants Show Their First Buds”. This is the third micro-season of the mini-season Rain Water.  All the micro-seasons within Rain Water are:

  • The Earth Becomes Damp (Feb 19-Feb 23)
  • Haze First Covers the Sky (Feb. 24 – Feb 28)
  • Plants Show Their First Buds (Mar 01 – Mar 04)

These seasons were established in 1685 by Japanese astronomer Shibukawa Shunkai and are specific to Japan. However, just because the calendar focuses on Japan doesn’t mean it isn’t applicable to others.  No matter where you live you can use these seasons as a starting point for your personal exploration of the world around you. 

To celebrate this season, we will learn about plant buds and read seasonal haiku by Issa, Basho, and Shiki.

What Are Plant Buds?

In botany, the term “bud” is used to describe an undeveloped or rudimentary stem or branch of a plant.(1)  Buds typically form at the end of a stem or at the axil of a leaf.  In colder climates, buds may be covered in specialized leaf parts called scales. Scales protect the delicate parts of the buds from harsh winter conditions.  Buds may contain the beginnings of leaves, flowers, or a combination of each.(1,2)

How Are Plant Buds Classified?

Below are the ways that botanists classify plant buds.


  • Terminal –  This bud is located at the tip of a stem or branch.
  • Apical –  This bud is located at the tip of a stem or a branch at the top of the plant.
  • Axillary –  This type of bud is located in the axil of a leaf. The leaf axil is located between the upper part of the stem and the leaf’s supporting stem. 
  • Adventitious – An adventitious bud is when that forms in places not identified in the other locations.  For example, adventitious buds may form on trunks or roots.  


  • Scaly or Covered – Scaly or covered buds have specialized leaf parts that cover and protect the undeveloped parts. 
  • Naked – Naked buds do not have scales.;
  • Hairy – Hairy buds may be scaly or naked, and they have small hairs that provided extra protection.  The term Trichomes, which is derived from the Greek word for hair, may also be used to identify the fine hairs that grow on plants.


  • Vegetative – A vegetative bud only contains the vegetative pieces of the plant.  A leaf bud is a vegetative bud. 
  • Reproductive – A reproductive bud contains flower parts. This bud may also be called a flower bud. 
  • Mixed  – A mixed bud contains both vegetative and reproductive parts.  


  • Resting – These buds are formed at the end of a season and will “rest” until the next growing season.
  • Dormant or latent – These buds move beyond “resting” for a season. Dormant buds usually stay undeveloped for a year or more.
  • Accessory – Accessory buds grow alongside the principal terminal or axillary buds.
  • Pseudoterminal – Pseudoterminal buds are ones where the axillary bud takes over the role of the terminal bud. This usually happens when the terminal bud dies or is damaged.

The following image by Mariana Ruiz Villarreal provides a wonderful illustration of the classifications mentioned above.

Mariana Ruiz Villarreal, LadyofHats, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Mariana Ruiz Villarreal, LadyofHats, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Looking for help with identifying trees by their buds?  This printable guide for the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point can help!

Season Haiku

The World Kigo Database tells us that “Tree Buds” (ko no me or konome) are spring kigo. However, there are many variations of ko no me. For example, buds of a willow tree (yanagi no me) and maple buds (kaede no me) are more specific versions of tree buds. This type of specificity is often helpful in writing haiku.  

In The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words as selected by Kenkichi Yamamoto, they also include “young green plants” (wakamidori) as a similar spring kigo. Here again we see a very broad phrase used as the kigo, and likewise, you could add more specificity to this to create a more vivid image in your haiku.

“Blossoms” are another favorite spring kigo.  However, we will save blossoms for the micro-season “The First Peach Blossom” (March 10 -March 14).

With all this in mind, let’s read some haiku!


every tree
with its calling card...
spring buds
(translated by David G Lanoue)
deep mountain trees--
soon as buds appear
they're eaten
(translated by David G Lanoue)


The buds come out on the trees,
But the garden of the new house
Is not yet natural.
(translated by Blyth)


flower buds
sadly spring winds cannot open
a poem bag 
(translated by Jane Reichhold)
the beginning verse
should not resemble our faces
budding cherry blossoms 
(translated by Jane Reichhold)
the crescent moon -
a bud on the morning glory
swelling at night 
(translated by Makoto Ueda
emaciated and yet
somehow the chrysanthemum
buds out.
(translated by David Landis Barnhill

Haiku Invitation

This week’s haiku invitation is to write a haiku or senryu that references buds or young plants.  

Share your haiku in the comments below, or post on your own page and link back to this post. I can’t wait to read what you write! 



  1. “Bud”; Dictionary.com 
  2. “Bud”; Wikipedia
  3. “Buds of trees (konome)”; World Kigo Database
  4. Yamamoto, Kenkichi. “The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words”. Translated by Kris Young Kondo and William J. Higginson. Haiku Foundationamamoto,

Issa’s and Shiki’s haiku were retrieved from the World Kigo Database.    Basho’s haiku was retrieved from Matsuo Bashō’s haiku poems in romanized Japanese with English translations.

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66 thoughts on “Micro-Season: “Plants Show Their First Buds” (2023)

Add yours

    1. A sigh of relief for both the buds and the observer. I also like how sigh suggests breeze, an incognito rhyme with freeze. Quite exquisite, tender and strong these buds.

    1. Hi Denzil, I agree the chart is super helpful. If you have a chance to check out the winter tree bud identification phamplet that is also in the post I highly recommended it. Thanks for stopping in! Have a great weekend.

      1. Thank you. Yes. Correct. “The shiny green against the gray sky.” Lovely too💖💚🙏😊

    1. Hi Joanna, Thanks for adding your work to the conversation! I had to look up jasmine plants to see what the leaves look like. They are not very common up here in the northern parts of the States. Thanks again for sharing your work! Have a good weekend.

      1. Thank you. I enjoy reading your work and participating in the haikus. . 🙏😊🌹

  1. Mark – I always enjoy the information you provide. Thank you for taking the time to enlighten us with so much joyful infomation as well as the haiku (and translations) of the masters. I will be back with verse later. Unfortunately our cold weather might be harming some of the buds that erupted last week when we had temps in the 70F’s.

    I also liked the bud chart which I copied and saved for future reference. Thanks again. ~Jules

    1. Hi Jules, Thanks so much for the kind words! I am glad that you are enjoying the posts and the haiku. I am on my second time around with these seasons and I still learn something new each time!
      I hear you about the cold weather, we are expecting another snow storm tonight.

  2. ready to
    remove its cap
    California poppy

    I was delighted to discover that our state flower’s bud has a little cap that is removed as it blooms. In addition, I did know that the blooms close up with gray skies or darkness and unfurl in the sun.

    The next two months will be particularly amazing if anyone is close enough to visit because all of our rains this winter have caused a super bloom.

    1. Hi Eavonka, Thanks for sharing this haiku and the info about the California poppy! Very cool to hear about the flowering process.
      So you are going to have a super bloom!? That sounds pretty cool. I hope you can share some pictures on twitter!
      I hope you have a good weekend!

      1. I was lucky enough to get a first I love you from an ex about 18 years ago when I first went out to Borrego to see them. I think this is only the 2nd super bloom since then. Unfortunately, during the last one, people went nuts to get their Instagram and video shots. They trampled and messed everything up. You’re not supposed to leave the paths. Anyway, this year I heard they want to avoid a repeat and may not let it be open. 😢

  3. Another wonderful post, Mark. You’re singlehandedly educating the masses. 🙂
    Especially loved the Issa poem. Here’s my contribution (as snow swirls outside my windows):

    Rocky Mountain buds
    carrying our hopes of spring
    no more winter please

    1. Hi Tracy,
      The Issa “calling card’ haiku is great! It sounds like you are in the same situation as we are in the northeast. The snow is supposed to start at about 10 and continue for the next 24 hours. Time for the snow to stop! Thanks for writing and the kind words. Have a great weekend.

  4. Many thanks for this great post, Mark, and, for the invitation to share a haiku on the micro season ‘Plants show their first buds ,2023’.

    Here’s my contribution _

    First morning dew drops
    On the twigs of the plum tree
    The first buds of Spring

  5. What an education in buds Mark. You amaze me. Wonderful history and haikus.
    Thanks for letting me play in the comments my friend!


    budding once again
    loves promise of spring opens
    beginning again

    1. Hi Cindy, Thanks so much for adding you poem to the season! It truly is wonderful to see all the wonderful thing people write and our difference experiences of spring.
      Thanks again for the sharing your work and the kind words.

  6. Really enjoyed this post, Mark. I like your chart especially. Some haiku for the post:

    the first buds
    of the crocus
    —lenten moon
    ~Nancy Brady, 2022

    tiny buds on trees
    burst into delicate blooms
    –sap moon
    ~Nancy Brady, 2023

    the warmth of the oven
    makes the buds expand
    –baking bread
    ~Nancy Brady, 2023


    1. Hi Nancy, Nice collection for this season! “The first buds” is really great. I am sitting here thinking about the connection between the religious observation of lent and the buds of the crocus. Wonderful work! Thanks for sharing.

      1. Thanks, Mark. When I originally wrote it, I had spring moon, but then thought that many of the crocuses are purple (or shades thereof) as is the Lenten color. They both arrive about the same time. In fact, the first of my crocuses are blooming as of yesterday. Of course, the church up the street has had them blooming for a couple weeks now. Thanks again for all the information about buds. ~nan

      1. Thank you, Mary Jo. That’s sweet of you to say. If I was trying to be funny, I might say, “I’m a budding haiku poet.” On the other hand, anyone has writes to Mark’s prompt could also claim the same. ~nan

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