History of The Cherry Blossom

History of The Cherry Blossom.

History of The Cherry Blossom

The cherry blossom (Sakura) is the unofficial national flower of Japan, which has been honored for many centuries and has a very important place in Japanese culture. In Japan, you can find dozens of different types of cherries, most of which bloom for just a couple of days in the spring. Such a seasonal blink of an eye is celebrated every year with hanami (view of the blossoming cherries), i.e. with a party under the trees. Japan is home to over 100 varieties of cherries. Some of them are wild varieties that grow in the forests of Japan, such as the Yamazakura, but most species have been cultivated by humans for centuries in gardens and parks, for ornamental use. The most famous cherry variety today is the exceptionally beautiful, cultivated Somei Yoshino. Most varieties of cherries are differentiated based on several characteristics. Some of the most obvious, which even beginners can recognize, are presented below:

Number of petals:

Most wild cherries and many of the cultivated ones have flowers with five petals. However, some species have flowers that consist of ten, twenty or more petals. Trees with more than five petals are called yaezakura.

Flower color:

Most varieties have flowers that are light pink to white. But there are also cherries that make dark pink, yellow or green flowers. In addition, during the flowering period it is possible to change the color of a cherry blossom: for example, a flower may turn white and over the days change to pink.

History of The Cherry Blossom
New leaves:

In the case of trees that bloom early, the new leaves do not come out until after full bloom with the result that the trees then have an impressive and uniform appearance. In later flowering trees, the leaves usually appear before flowering and thus do not have such a uniform appearance. Also, in each different variety, the new leaves have a different color. In most cases they are green, brown or an intermediate shade.

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Flowering time:

Most cherry varieties bloom in spring. Yaezakura, ie cherries with flowers that have more than five petals, are usually the ones that bloom last and in fact two to four weeks after most varieties with five petals. Some of the more "extreme" varieties bloom late in the autumn or even winter months.

When do they bloom?

The most important factor that determines the flowering time of cherries is the geographical location. In general, the milder the climate, the earlier the flowers open.

In the southern, subtropical islands of Japan, Okinawa, cherries bloom in January and on the northern island of Hokkaido, bloom in May. In most major cities, including Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the classic cherry blossom season is in early April.

In addition, the flowering period of cherries varies from year to year depending on the weather. If the weather is mild in the months and weeks before the flowering period, then the flowers will open early. If it is cold, they will bloom later. From year to year, the beginning of the flowering period usually differs plus / minus a week, but there are likely to be larger deviations.

History of The Cherry Blossom

How long do they bloom?

The flowering period of cherries is relatively short. Full bloom (mankai) usually comes within a week after the first flowers (kaika) open. A week even the peak of flowering is now over as the flowers begin to fall from the trees. Strong winds and rain may further shorten the flowering period.

Tree shape:

Cherries grow in different ways, so they take different shapes and forms: triangular, columnar, V-shaped, weeping, with a flat top, etc. The cherries that belong to the weeping cherries are called shidarezakura.

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