Sakura

The Flowering Cherries of Japan


 














Introduction:
        The Japanese name the flowering cherry Sakura. However, to them, Sakura is not just a name or just a tree. The cherry symbolizes the national character of the Japanese. This is because the short life of the cherry blossoms became an allegory for the short life of a feudal samurai, for a samurai could be expected at any time to sacrifice his life for his master. A saying among the Japanese is that "the cherry is among flowers as the samurai is among men". Another fact about the cherries which makes them important to the Japanese is that Sakura are only native to Japan. Sakura are cultivated all over Japan, mostly along riverbanks, though there are wild trees still growing in the more remote areas of the country.
        Due to their importance as a symbol of Nippon (Japan), the cherries have become a large part of the culture of that nation. In the spring, during cherry blossom time, huge festivals are held as the people go to parties and quieter family picnics along river banks and wherever else the cherries grow. There are even resorts dedicated to this purpose alone. Businesses have restricted hours and people forget about other concerns during the typically three day interval in which the flowers bloom. The petal falling time which occurs after is very important as well as it symbolizes to the Japanese the impermanent nature of things. The petal falling period is in particular very important to the Zen shrines around the country where the monks devote time to considering the beauty and still quiet of the falling petals.
        Thus it is quite natural that the cherry blossom has become the national flower of the country. Sakura is esteemed as the most beautiful and important of flowers, and when the Japanese use the word hana (flower) it means sakura. and hanami (flower viewing) means the viewing of flowering cherries alone. There are many varieties of sakura with blossoms of different tints and different blooming time. In the southern warmer region it blooms earlier than in the northern area. So if one starts viewing sakura in the south and moves north one can prolong the cherry viewing time

Characteristics:
        The flowering cherries are members of the genus Prunus, though they are both culturally and morphologically a separate group from other members of this genus. The main characteristic which separates them from the other members of this group, and the reason they are known as flowering cherries is their fruit, which, unlike other members of this genus such as sweet and sour cherries, peaches, apricots and nectarines which are valued for their fruit, is very small, usually black, and inedible. For this reason they are most highly valued for their flowers and hence the name flowering cherry. A critic of the flowering cherry once named it too aristocratic because it did not produce a valuable crop and was merely grown for aesthetic reasons, but this characteristic endears the tree even more as a symbol of beauty the Japanese.

Morphology:

Habit - erect tree
Leaves - generally alternate and simple, usually serrate, also undulate or entire. Usually pale green to tawny or reddish in color with unimpressive fall color in most species.
Inflorescences - usually corymbs
Flowers - bisexual and actinomorphic, perigynous. Calyx of 5 sepals fused at base. Corolla in general with multiples of 5 petals attached to the rim of the hypanthium. The petals often have an apical notch. Andreocium of numerous stamens. Gynoecium a simple pistil of 1 carpel. Ovary superior.
Fruit - a reduced drupe. It is this characteristic which separates flowering cherries from other species of cherry and other members of the genus.
Fruit Set - as with other members of the genus this cycle begins in early spring, typically in early April. The cherries have a brief chilling requirement and may start to grow again during a mid-winter warm spell. This often causes chilling injuries to the trees, which is a major concern to cultivators of the cherry. This cycle is very important in Japan as it includes the budding, blooming and petal fall of the cherries.
Seed - usually without endosperm

Economic Importance:
        The cherries' chief use is as ornamentals. Although the cherry originated in Japan, many cultivars, chiefly P. serrulata, P. yedoensis, and P. subhirtella, have been exported to other areas of the world including North America, other parts of the Orient, Australia and Europe. Flowering cherries, in particular weeping cherries, are mostly used as exotic ornamentals for accenting a particular area in a garden or landscape.
        Although the flowering cherry has been of accused of being merely beautiful, it has other uses as well. When blooming, many species, in particular P. yedoensis, exude a very beautiful almond fragrance. Also the wood of the cherry is very valuable and is used in making wood blocks for prints. The wood is very beautiful as well with a reddish tint and is commonly used in expensive furniture or in decorative work such as modeling. The flowers are also edible and are preserved in salt and then made into a sort of tea which is used during wedding ceremonies to wish good luck to the newlywed couple. Normal Japanese tea is not in general used here as to include tea in a ceremony means "to turn all into laughter" and to use tea in a wedding would doom the marriage into a joke.

Geographic Distribution:
           The true Japanese flowering cherry is native only to Japan (except for one of the Sato cherries which is native to Bagshot, Surrey) and grows in all areas of that country, but so many have been exported to other areas of the world including North America, Eastern Asia, especially in China and Korea, Australia, and Europe, that they can be found sometimes growing wild on these areas.

The Species of Flowering Cherries

Prunus campanulata Maxim.

Habit - an erect tree with black-brown or gray-brown bark
Leaves - a pale tawny color, especially when young, and undulate and entire
Flowers - scarlet with 5 petals and a diameter of 2.3 cm.
Pistil - a single pistil as long as the numerous stamens
Peduncles - glabrous and sometimes pendulous
Fragrance - absent
Period of Flowering - the latter part of March

Common cultivars:
'Hikanzakura' - this is a small tree with dark black-brown bark and scarlet flowers. The flowers are relatively large and open with numerous, delicate stamens. The peduncles are pendulous, and before fully opening the flowers hang down and appear like bells.

Prunus donarium Sieb.

Habit - an erect tree with dark-brown bark
Leaves - red tawny and serrate
Flowers relatively large with a diameter of up to 5 cm, deep rose in color, often double with up to 50 (in double flowers the innermost 15 petals are often much smaller)
Pistil - singular and the same length as the numerous stamens
Peduncles - stout green and glabrous
Fragrance - absent
Period of Flowering - the latter part of April

Common cultivars:
'Kanzan' - this tree is actually a hybrid of Prunus donarium Sieb., P. Lannesiana Sieb., and P. serrulata Lindl. and is therefore sterile with the pistils to two, small, green, leaf-like bodies. It is sometimes classified as a cultivar of these species instead. It is the most common cherry in suburban landscapes with strong upright branches which spread out. It is an erect tree with large rose flowers with numerous petals numbering up to 50.

Prunus incisa Thunb.

Habit - an erect tree of medium size with grayish bark
Leaves - tawny green and serrate
Flowers - of medium size, delicate pink in color, with a corolla of 5 petals
Pistil - the single pistil is longer than the stamens
Peduncles - glabrous
Fragrance - absent
Period of Flowering - the first part of April

Common cultivars:

'Fujizakura' (or flowering cherry of Mt. Fuji) This is a delicate tree of medium size with slender branches and very pale pink flowers. The flowers are of medium size with small stamens.

Prunus Jamasakura Sieb.

Habit - and erect tree with grayish bark
Leaves - reddish or tawny green, minutely serrate, and developing simultaneously with the flowers
Flowers - of medium size with a diameter of 2.5 - 4.0 cm and a corolla with 5 - 30 petals which are pale pink in color though the color is deeper when in bud. The corymbs are often 2 - flowered
Pistil - shorter than the numerous stamens
Peduncles - green or reddish and glabrous
Fragrance - somewhat fragrant with an almond aroma
Period of Flowering - with different cultivars flowering throughout April
        This one of the most popular species of flowering cherries in Japan and other areas of Asia, with hundreds of cultivars. Though it is very popular in Japan, it is not quite as common in the U.S.

Common cultivars:
'Giogi-gijozakura' A small tree with ascending branches, grayish bark with rather small, pale tawny to green leaves which are glabrous, obovate or eliptic, glaucescent beneath with long awned teeth and small glands. The flowers are pink with a corolla of 14 petals. The flowers bloom in the middle part of April and are planted at the Gioji Temple, Saga near Kyoto.

'Hiyoshizakura' An erect tree with brown-gray bark and reddish leaves which are tawny when young. The flowers are pink and double with a corolla of 28 petals. The flowers are of medium size with a diameter of 3.5 cm. They typically flower in early to mid April. This cultivar is the one planted in the grounds of the Hiyoshi Shrine in Sakamoto, near Otsu, Shiga Prefecture.

'Kotohira' An erect tree with gray-brown bark and green leaves. The flowers are pale pink passing to white with a corolla of 20-25 petals. The cultivar blooms in the middle part of April and is the one planted in the Kotohira Shrine in Kagawa Prefecture.

'Osawazakura' An erect tree with brownish bark and tawny, glabrous leaves which are brownish when unfolding. The flowers are pink with a corolla of 15-18 petals. The cultivar blooms in the latter part of April and was developed by Sano Nursery Garden which is a major center for the production of flowering cherries in Japan.

'Ouchiyama' - An erect tree with gray-brown bark and tawny to green in maturity, glabrous leaves, which are rather thin in texture, and somewhat glaucescent beneath. The flowers are very nearly white, pink when in bud, and have a corolla of 15-20 petals. It flowers in the latter part of April and is the cherry of the Ninnaji Temple near Kyoto.

'Sanozakura' This cultivar is a slightly smaller, erect tree with tawny leaves. The leaves are glabrous, rather small, minutely serrate and glaucescent beneath. The flowers are pale pink and double with 12-15 petals. This cultivar can also be found in the wild around the Sano area.

'Yamazakura' This cultivar is an erect tree with reddish green leaves. The flowers are variable in size with a diameter of 2.5 - 4.0 cm. The flowers have only 5 petals and are a light pink color. The corymbs are 2 flowered. The flowers usually bloom in the first or middle part of April. This is one of the more popular cultivars in Japan and is extensively cultivated in many cities.

Prunus Lannesiana Sieb.

Habit - an erect tree with grayish to black-brown bark Leaves - red-tawny or tawny-green, minutely serrate, in general glabrous, and occasionally developing after the flowers.
Flowers - large with a diameter of 3.0 - 5.0 cm, extremely variable in color with deep pink with a purplish hue white with a pink or green cast, true pink or even green and occasionally double
Pistil - variable in number and in some hybrids reduced to a petaloid or leaf like structure Peduncles - glabrous and greenish or reddish
Fragrance - occasionally pronounced
Period of Flowering - variable with different cultivars blooming from late March through late April

Common Cultivars: this is an extremely common species and this list represents only a small proportion of important cultivars

'Eigenji' - an erect tree with grayish bark and tawny green leaves which are glabrous, oblong, and slightly glaucous beneath. The flowers are large with a diameter of 5.0 cm and a corolla of 7-11 petals which are a pink-tinged white. The peduncles are unusually elongated and glabrous. These cherries flower in the middle part of April and are planted at the Eigenji Temple in the Shiga Prefecture.

'Fudanzakura' - an erect tree with black brown bark and tawny leaves. The flowers are small to medium sized with a corolla of 5 petals which are pale pink and rather darker in bud. This cultivar is interesting because of the long length and unusual time of flowering. 'Fudanzakura' begins flowering in the latter part of October and continues flowering through the latter part of April of the next year.

'Gyoiko' - an erect tree with brownish bark and tawny leaves. This is one of the more unusual of the Sakura because of its flowers. The flowers are of medium size with 13 petals which reflex when in full flower. It is the color of these petals which is so unusual; the flowers are pale green and partially pale yellow, striated with green lines, and longitudinally striped with red when in full flower. These cherries are a hybrid of P. donarium and are infertile with the pistil reduced to a petaloid structure. These cherries bloom in the latter part of April.

'Kikuzakura' another very unusual cultivar sometimes known as 'Chrysanthemoides' in this country due to the chrysanthemum-like appearance of the flowers. This is an erect tree with dark-brown bark and true green leaves. The flowers are of medium size and with a corolla of 125 pink petals with the inner 80 much smaller and darker in color. The peduncles are elongate, nodding and glabrous. These cherries bloom in the latter part of April.

'Oshimazakura' - an erect rather delicate tree with grayish bark and tawny-green, minutely serrate leaves. The flowers are smaller for this species with a diameter of only 3.7 cm. The corolla consists of only 5 petals which are white with a subtle suffusion of pink. The flowers are more delicate in appearance than most and do not last as long. The peduncles are green and glabrous. The flowers have a distinct, extremely pronounced fragrance which is their most important feature. These cherries bloom in the latter part of April.

'Taoyame' - an erect tree with gray-brown bark and with red tawny, glabrous leaves which are slightly glaucous beneath. The flowers are large and pink in hue with a corolla consisting of 20-25 petals which are rounded, slightly rugose, and convex on the outside. These cherries bloom in the mid to latter part of April and are planted at the Hirano Shrine in Kyoto.

Prunus nipponica Matsum.

Habit - shrubby with grayish bark
Leaves - red-tawny and serrate
Flowers - of medium size with a diameter of 3.0 cm and a corolla of generally 5 rounded petals which are pink in color Pistil - in general longer than the stamens
Peduncles - short and green
Fragrance - absent Period of Flowering - the middle part of April

Common Cultivars:
'Chishima-zakura' a shrubby plant with grayish bark and reddish leaves. The corolla consists of 5 petals which are pink and rounded. The peduncles are short green and pilose. This cultivar flowers in the middle part of April.

Prunus pendula Maxim. (Note-see P. subhirtella 'Pleno-rosea' on questions of classification)

Habit - an erect tree with grayish bark, often with pendulous branches
Leaves - tawny green and serrate Flowers - of medium size with a corolla of 5 to many pink petals
Pistil - as long as to shorter than the stamens
Peduncles - pubescent
Fragrance - absent
Period of Flowering - latter part of March through mid April

Common Cultivars:
'Edohigan' - an erect tree with grayish bark and tawny green leaves. The flowers are of medium size with a diameter of about 2.8 cm and a corolla of 5 pink petals. The branches are thinner than most and are covered by the blossoms when in bloom in the latter part of March.

'Shidarezakura' a tree with pendulous branches and grayish bark. The leaves are tawny green and serrate. The flowers are small with a diameter of only 2.0 cm and a corolla of 5 pink petals. This tree is very delicate in appearance with its down sweeping branches and simple, pale pink flowers. It blooms in the latter part of March to the first part of April.

'Yae-benishidare' (Pleno-Rosea)- a medium sized tree with pendulous branches and grayish bark. The leaves are tawny-green at first and develop after the flowers. The flowers are medium sized with a diameter of 3.0 cm. With a corolla of 20 deep pink flowers hanging from pendulous, slender, red peduncles. This tree blooms in the first to middle part of April.

'Yaehigan' - an erect tree of medium size with grayish bark. The leaves emerge tawny-green and are serrate. The flowers are of medium size with a diameter of 2.5-3.0 cm and a corolla of 8-10 pink petals. 'Yaehigan' blooms in the first part of April.

Prunus pseudo-cerasus Sieb. Mountain Cherry

Habit - an erect tree with grayish bark
Leaves - pale tawny to green, serrate
Flowers - fairly large with a diameter of 3.0 - 4.0 cm and a corolla of 5 white petals sometimes tinged with pink toward apex
Pistil - of similar length as the stamens
Peduncles - glabrous
Fragrance - absent
Period of Flowering - middle part of April

        This is a wild species of cherry and hence there are no important cultivars. It is used however in breeding and was used in the hybrid in many species including 'Yamazakura' of Prunus Jamasakura. However there are some wild varieties including Higanzakura or equinox cherry, Takane-zakura or peak cherry, and Miyama zakura or deep mountain cherry.

Prunus Sargentii Rehder

Habit - erect tree with brown bark
Leaves - young leaves red-tawny, developing into green, serrated
Flowers - of medium size with a diameter of 3.0 - 3.5 cm and a corolla of usually 5 deep pink petals
Pistil - singular and as long as the stamens
Peduncles - glabrous
Fragrance - absent
Period of Flowering - the mid part of April

Common Cultivars:
'Ezoyamazakura' - an erect tree with brown bark and reddish bronze foliage. The flowers are single wit 5 very deep pink petals which are darker when in bud. Though a hybrid of Prunus pseudo-cerasus and P. serrulata, this tree is fertile.

Prunus serrulata Lindl. The 'Sato' Cherries

Habit - an erect tree with grayish to black-brown bark
Leaves - bronze and serrated
Flowers - medium sized with a corolla of 5 or more petals pale pink through deep rose in color
Pistil - variable in length, can be shorter or longer than the stamens
Peduncles - glabrous
Fragrance - sometimes present
Period of Flowering - throughout April

This group of cherries is the most prevalent in the United States and is the most familiar. Some sources in fact incorrectly classify all flowering cherries under this name. Many of the cultivars including most of those covered in this paper are in fact hybrids of this species, however.

Common Cultivars:
'Amanogawa' ('Erecta') - This cherry which is strictly erect and columnar when young, but opens up with age, is ideal for very restricted spaces between buildings. In a garden it is better as a group than singly. The pale pink, large , frilled, semi-double, fragrant flowers open medium late among slightly bronzed leaves which in autumn turn pale yellow and pinkish red.

'Fugenzo' ('James Veitch') - a tree very similar to 'Kanzan' in appearance, but on a lower more spreading crown, with shorter stalked buds of similar flowers, but with redder buds and leaves

'Okiku' - considered by some to be the most beautiful of the flowering cherries, but still little known in the U.S. Strong upright growth is veiled in clusters of frilled, semi-double, green-eyed, pale pink flowers.

'Pink Perfection' - the only cherry not of Japanese origin, this is a cross between 'Shimidsu' and 'Kanzan' raised in 1935 and quite frequently seen in Surrey, its native country. Its flowers are in big hanging bunches and in good years they cover the tree. The flowers open a rich pink and fade to white which adds interest to this tree.

'Shimidsu' -  a low crowned, flat topped tree of slow growth but with excellent flowers. Large bunches of flowers hang with a lilac tint beneath similarly colored leaves which become bright green as the flowers open. The flowers are very large, double and white, hanging on long stemmed branches.

'Shirofugen' a variation on 'Shimidsu', flowering at the same time, but lasting longer. It is a taller and more spreading tree and it displays three colors. The buds are a deep pink and beneath the red leaves they open pink for a few days until turning white for a week or more. Thenas the leaves turn green the flowers revert to a pale pink.

'Tai Haku' or Great White Cherry - This cherry was lost in Japan around 1700, but a single tree was found in 1923 planted in a Sussex garden. Collingwood Ingram, who discovered it, raised grafts and every 'Tai Haku' in the world is derived from this plant. Young plants have raised branches and long shoots covered in mid-season by large, single white flowers among red leaves. The leaves are well spaced and leathery and on some trees turning a bright red in autumn.

'Ukon' - the only flowering cherry cultivated which has , pale buff-yellow flowers. They are semi-double, long stalked and below pale brown or khaki leaves. At maturity the flowers turn a pure white with a red eye. The leaves are large and dark , like 'Tai Haku' in size and appearance but predominately oblong.

Prunus Sieboldii (Carr.) Wittm. in Gartenflora

Habit - an erect tree with grayish bark
Leaves - tawny green when young
Flowers - a fairly large flower with diameters ranging from 4.0 - 5.0 cm and with a corolla ranging from 5 - many pink petals which are 2-3 lobed at their apex
Pistil - as long as the stamens
Peduncles - green and pubescent
Fragrance - sometimes present
Period of Flowering - the middle part of April

Common Cultivars:
'Naden' - and erect tree with grayish bark and semi-double pink flowers which are globose in bud and which have a corolla of 13 petals. Sometimes fragrant, these cherries bloom in the middle of April.

Prunus subhirtella Miq.

Habit - an erect tree of middle size with brown bark
Leaves - tawny green, developing after the flowers, serrate
Flowers - rather small with a corolla of 5 to may rose petals.
Pistil - singular in general, but sometimes two in the sterile cultivars
Peduncles - shorter and green, either glabrous or pubescent
Fragrance - absent
Period of Flowering - the latter part of March , beginning of April, or throughout the winter.

Common Cultivars:
'Jugatsuzakura' ('Autumnalis') - a small tree with dark with tawny leaves. Rather large for this species, the flowers have a diameter of 4.0 cm and a corolla of 10-15 pink or white petals. This tree is remarkable in that it flowers from October through the mid part of April if the winter is mild enough. This cultivar is also one of the few which has bright red, beautifully distinctive autumn foliage.

'Kumagai-zakura' - an erect tree of medium size with brownish bark and tawny green leaves which develop after the flowers and are rather small and glabrate which are thinly pilose and with shorter petioles. The flowers are small with a diameter of 2.0 cm and a corolla of 25 rose colored petals which are narrowed above. This cultivar flowers at the end of March.

'Pendula' ('Pleno-rosea I was unable to determine whether or not this is the same as Prunus pendula or not. They are classified in different places depending on the source. The descriptions of this tree and the species P. Pendula were contained in different sources from different periods of time. The volume in which 'Pendula' was classified as a cultivar rather than a species was newer, but less scientific, than the other.) - an erect tree with gray bark and tawny green young leaves with rather pendulous branches covered in pink flowers. This cultivar is more commonly known as the weeping cherry because of the graceful down sweeping branches which give it a similar appearance to weeping willow. It blooms in the first part of April.

Prunus tajimensis Makino

Habit - an erect tree with pendulous branches and brown bark Leaves - brownish in color, serrate Flowers - of medium size with a corolla of 5 to 35 pink petals
Pistil - longer than the stamens
Peduncles - slender, reddish, glabrous
Fragrance - absent
Period of Flowering - the first part of April

Common Cultivars:
'Shofukuji-shidare' - an erect tree of medium size with pendulous branches and serrate, red-brown leaves. The flowers are of medium size with a diameter of 3.0 cm and a corolla of 35 pink petals. It flowers in the first part of April and is the cultivar of the Shofukuji Temple, Yumara in Hyogo Prefecture.

Prunus verecunda Koehne

Habit - a large shrub to erect tree with black-brown bark
Leaves - green and paler beneath, serrate
Flowers - rather large with a corolla of 5 to many pink petals
Pistil - shorter than the stamens
Peduncles - green, glabrous
Fragrance - absent
Period of Flowering - the middle to latter part of April and through the beginning of May

Common Cultivars:
'Kasumizakura' - an erect tree with grayish bark and tawny, serrate leaves. The flowers are small and have a corolla of 5 pink petals. The peduncles are about two cm in length green and sparsely pilose. These flowers bloom in the latter part of April.

'Nara-yaezakura' - an erect tree with dark-gray bark and red-tawny serrate leaves. The flowers are rather small and have a corolla of 30 - 40 petals which emerge pink but pale to white at the height of flowering. The peduncles are green and sparsely pilose. This cultivar blooms in the latter part of April through the beginning of May.

'Omuru-mikurumagaeshi' - a small glabrous, shrubby tree branching from near the base with green leaves which are rather thin in texture and paler beneath. The flowers are pink small and double with a corolla of 13 petals. It blooms in the latter part of April and is used as a stock for grafting for the cherry trees planted in the grounds of the Ninnaji Temple near Kyoto

Prunus yedoensis Matsum. The 'Yoshino' Cherries

Habit - an erect tree with grayish bark
Leaves - green, serrate
Flowers - fairly large with a corolla of typically 5 pink to white petals
Pistil - of the same length as the stamens
Peduncles - pubescent
Fragrance - one of the more fragrant of the flowering cherries with an intense, almond aroma Period of Flowering - throughout April

Common Cultivars:
'Somei-yoshino' - an erect tree with grayish bark and green serrate leaves. The flowers are large with a diameter of 4.5 cm and have a corolla of 5 pink petals which fade to white in full bloom. It flowers in the first part of April.
 
 


Conclusion


 






        For fifty weeks of the year the gardens of Kyoto are subtle examples of Japanese understatement. They form a quiet spot of restrained beauty within a frenetic city. During the two week cherry blossom time however this tranquil garden in profuse with color and an explosion of cherry blossoms and their viewers. A festive atmosphere invades Kyoto during this annual fair. Crowds gather along the path of philosophers to gaze at the miles long row of cherries with their blossoms. They spread tatami mats beneath the canopy of blossoms and celebrate with meals, singing and the drinking of Saki. Lanterns are hung and rice paper carefully inscribed with prayers are strung from branches. The spectacle fades with the falling of the petals like snow to lie in quiet puddles on the ground as the gardens of Kyoto resume their restraint and unadorned simplicity.
        The cherry blossoms, seen by example in the city of Kyoto, have become a large part of the Japanese culture and represent a short time of release and gaiety before returning to one's simple life. However, the cherry, despite the festival spirit it engenders, is a serious symbol and is one of the more powerful ones in Japanese art. It is pictured in countless screens and paintings, and a great number of Haiku are devoted to it. Interestingly enough, it is not to the blossoms and their beauty and the merriment they bring to which much of this art is devoted to, but it rather focuses on the petal fall and the feeling of the passing of the cherries' beauty it brings. This is an interesting paradox and I think the cherries' symbol as both a form of gaiety and of a realization of the short nature of things is a forceful, poetic illustration of the transitory nature of beauty, life, and happiness. A haiku which typifies the quiet, lonely nature of the petal fall was written by Kyoroku, a student of the famous Haiku poet Basho and translates something like this;
 
 


Blown cherry-blossoms
fall and float
upon the cold rice patty waters.


 






        The love of Sakura is not limited to the Japanese however. Their affection for this flower has been translated in a reduced sense into our own culture as well, with the gift of cherry trees to Washington DC by the people of Tokyo in 1912. The then First Lady, Helen Taft, and the wife of the Japanese ambassador, Viscountess Chinda, planted the first two trees at the north end of the Tidal Basin. In 1952, this gift was reciprocated when cuttings from the original trees were returned to Japan to stabilize their own population. Since the planting of the original trees around the Jefferson Memorial in 1912 an annual cherry blossom fest takes place in our nation's capital. Though smaller than the Japanese celebration and rather more distinctly American, this festival has become a symbol of a small shared bit of culture between our diverse peoples.
 
 


Annotated Literature


 






Brown, Richard W. 'The Cherry Blossoms of Kyoto'. Horticulture. 1988

Joyner, B.G. Woody Ornamentals. ChemLawn Corp. Columbus, 1980

Kyoroku. 'Haiku' Cherry Blossoms. The Peter Pauper Press. New York. 1960

Orgozaly, Molly, Conner and Beryl Brintnall Simpson. Economic Botany Plants in Our World. McGraw-Hill Inc. New York. 1995

Otto, Sheila. The Backyard Orchardist. OttoGraphics, Maple City, Michigan. 1993. .

Sano, Toemon. Sakura; Flowering Cherries of Japan. Published by Mitsumara Suiko Shoin Tokyo, Japan. 1961

Taylor, Norman. Guide to Garden Shrubs and Trees. Houston Mifflin. New York, 1965

Willis, T. H. Shrubs and Trees for Australian Gardens. Lothian. Melbourne, 1982

Zucker, Isabel. Flowering Shrubs and Trees. Grove Weidenfeld. New York, 1990

FESTIVALS AND HOLIDAYS Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) - http://mothra.rerf.or.jp/ENG/Hiroshima/Festivals/38.html (Size 10.8K)

The Cherry as the National Flower of Flower of Japan -
http://www.nps.gov/nama/cherry.htm