22. Evaluation of Mogami Benibana (最上紅花の評価)
Benibana was begun to be raised at Shiratori's ruling reign, but its production largely increased in Edo period. Its brand was "Mogami-benibana" that was highly evaluated in both its quality and quantity. In those days Murayama (村山) area was called "Mogami" and the parts of now Shinjo City (新庄市) was called "Murayama". "Mogami-benibana" was a general brand which was raised at the inland of present Yamagata Prefecture.
Now, look at the historic documents to prove the evaluation of this flower. "Wakan-sansai-zue" (和漢三才図絵) published in 1712 tells the producing district of benibana like "Mogami and Yamagata is the best one and Ise (伊勢) and Chikugo (筑後) is the second best and Imabari (今治) and Sesshu (摂州), the third best". And in 1691 "Nihon-kanoko" (『日本鹿子』) says the more six countries are counted as a producing districts. Also in 1697 in "Nihon-kokka-manyoki" (『日本国花万葉記』) the same description is found.
As the time went down, in 1784, the document informs that the northern parts of Tohoku area like Sendai and Yamagata produced a good quality of benibana. In 1827, Nobuhiro Sato (佐藤信淵) evaluated the benibana of Mogami and Murayama and recommend to raise the seeds there. Mogami-banibana was the best qualitied one, though its quality was a little declined.