Cherry blossoms are probably the most popular Japanese flowers and one of the most loved flowers in the whole world. Japan has over 200 cherry blossom varieties of which the most popular is the Somei Yoshino. It’s a single-flowering type with five pale pink petals that blooms in less than a week and make up 80 percent of the cherry blossom trees in the country.
Cherry blossoms have salted leaves and petals and the sweet scent called sakuramochi. Fugenzo and Kanzan varieties are pickled with salt and vinegar for the salted cherry blossom recipe. The leaves of the Oshima variety are also pickled in the same way to bring out its sweet aroma.
Table of Contents
- Akebono Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis)
- Autumn Cherry (Jugatsuzakura)
- Autumn Flowering Cherry (Prunus subhirtella var. autumnalis)
- Chrysanthemum Cherry (Kikuzakura)
- Kwanzan Cherry
- Okame Cherry
- Sargent Cherry (Prunus sargentii)
- Shirofugen Cherry
- Takesimensis Cherry
- Usuzumi Cherry (Prunus spachiana f. ascendens)
- Weeping Cherry (Shidarezakura)
- Yoshino Cherry (Somei Yoshino)
- Interesting Facts about Cherry Blossoms
Akebono Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis)
This wide-spreading tree has a rounded top and can get up to 50 feet tall at maturity. Its single, pale-pink petals fade to white as it ages, and it is hardy and vibrant to zone 6. It is becoming rarer and is being replaced with a variety whose pink blossoms never fade.
Autumn Cherry (Jugatsuzakura)
This tree blooms from October to January and again in the Spring, with small, sparse petals of light pink with a center that is a darker flush. It is also called the October Cherry, and it looks beautiful next to snow or in combination with other Fall colors.
Autumn Flowering Cherry (Prunus subhirtella var. autumnalis)
Growing up to 30 feet tall and 20 feet in width, this flower has semi-double, thick white petals that open sporadically during the Fall and Winter months and flower fully the following Spring. The tree is hardy to zone 4 and has upright, eye-catching stems.
Chrysanthemum Cherry (Kikuzakura)
This tree blooms from late-April to early May, and it is one of the last cherry blossom trees to bloom. With up to 100 petals per bloom, this tree is dense and has a full look, giving it an ambiance you won’t find in other trees. The white petals are flushed with soft-pink, and it really stands out regardless of what is planted around it.
A type of sakura, this tree has small, pale-pink petals and blooms from early- to mid-April. One of the earliest bloomers for cherry blossoms, the Edohigan is stunning and has petals that are so light they look white when clustered together.
This cherry blossom tree gets about 30-40 petals per bloom, and they come in white or light-pink in color, although the petals turn a darker shade of pink as they age. Its fresh leaves are copper-brown in color, making for a stunning color combination that every fan of cherry blossoms is certain to love.
A late-blooming tree that normally doesn’t start to flower until mid-April, this cherry blossom has fresh green leaves and beautiful soft pink petals. Found in numerous parks and public gardens throughout Japan, the Ichiyo gets about 20 petals per blossom, giving the tree a dense, very attractive look.
The Kanhizakura has bell-shaped petals that are dark-pink in color, and some of them bloom as early as January and February. Because the petals are such a unique shade of pink, it is a very popular type of cherry blossom that is loved by people all over the world.
With a blooming time that usually starts in late February and ends in mid-March, this tree is one of the first ones to bloom every year. Found mostly in parks and other public areas, this is a stunning tree that boasts petals in various shades of pink and is a favorite for visitors and tourists.
The Kanzan usually blooms in mid- to late-April and can grow 30-50 petals per bloom. It consists of different varieties, and its shape and pink color make it look similar to a carnation. Its leaves are fresh and copper-colored, and in Japan it is one of the most popular and common cherry blossom trees.
Blooming in mid-March, this tree blooms very early compared to other cherry blossoms, and it has rose-pink petals with darker pink stripes in a star shape on the petal. Although uncommon, it is frequently found in various cherry blossom festivals throughout Japan in the Spring.
Growing up to 30 feet high but getting wider than it is tall as it matures, this tree is hardy to zone 5 and has small, double petals that are clear pink in color. It sometimes has small green carpels that protrude from the flowers, and it grows in clusters that make it look full, dense, and very elegant.
This tree accounts for a very small percentage of the cherry blossom population, and it has petals in a beautiful shade of pink, making it a truly eye-catching tree. Best when grown in zones 5 and 6, it gets up to 25 feet tall and has double petals that are dense and full-looking.
Sargent Cherry (Prunus sargentii)
The Sargent Cherry tree grows to 50 feet tall and has petals that are pink and grow in clusters. Hardy to zone 4, this tree has spreading branches that gets as wide as the tree is tall, and its delicate petals are true head-turners.
This tree is very uncommon and grows up to 25 feet high. Its large petals are creamy-white but pink when fully open, and it is hardy when grown in zones 1-5. The blooms form clusters that make them look like carnations, and its rarity further augments its beauty.
Blooming from mid- to late-April, this tree has petals that are a bit larger than other cherry blossom trees, and the petals are bright white in color. Up to 30 petals can be found on each blossom, and its fresh green leaves are the perfect complement to that white color.
This tree is currently being tested in various wet and humid locations because it has done so well in these climates up to now. It can reach up to 40 feet in height and has petals that are a whitish-pink in color with beautiful stamen in the center. It is a hardy plant, and its blooms grow in beautiful clusters.
This cherry blossom usually starts to bloom in mid-April, and it has copper-colored leaves and about 20 creamy-yellow petals on each blossom. A charismatic type of cherry blossom, its unique color catches people’s attention and makes it one of the most popular cherry blossom trees out there.
Usuzumi Cherry (Prunus spachiana f. ascendens)
Rare and lovely, this tree has a round top and gets up to 40 feet in height. Its petals are single and white, eventually turning to an eye-catching grey as it matures. It is hardy to zone 6, and its blooms grow in clusters, which means it gives viewers a lot of blooms to look at and enjoy.
Weeping Cherry (Shidarezakura)
This tree comes in two types. One is filled with blooms that have five petals each, and the other one has blooms with more than five petals. The ones with more than five petals bloom later than the ones with fewer petals, and they have drooping branches that give them a very elegant look. They start to bloom in early April.
Blooming in early April, this cherry blossom can be found thriving in nature and has blossoms that are slightly pink and very small. Its fresh leaves bloom at the same time as the petals do, which gives the flower a dense, thick look. Its intense look is one of the many reasons it is such a well-loved tree.
Yoshino Cherry (Somei Yoshino)
A very popular type of cherry blossom tree, its petals have 5 blossoms on them and are a whitish-pink color. Since the leaves do not come out until after the flowering season peaks, the blooms themselves attract a lot of attention. In Japan, this is the most common type of cherry blossom tree, blooming in early April.
Interesting Facts about Cherry Blossoms
- Although many people don’t realize this, you don’t have to go to Washington, D.C. just to see beautiful cherry blossoms. They are also found in abundance in places such as along the Charles River in Boston; on the Capitol Mall in Salem, Oregon; Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey; the Arboretum in Dallas; the Cherry Blossom Walk in Nashville; the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis; at Seattle’s University of Washington; and in various orchards in the Traverse, Michigan area.
- There is actually such a thing as cherry blossom ice cream. In Japan, they love their cherry blossoms so much that they have figured out a way to put it into the frozen dessert, which people all over the country enjoy each year.
- Early April seems to be when Japan’s cherry blossoms peak; more specifically, April 4. The Japanese know that on this date, 70% of the cherry trees are in bloom and looking their best, with the blooming period lasting up to 14 days.
- Another thing many people do not realize is how large cherry blossom trees get. Some varieties grow to 50 feet in height, and they can get as wide as 40 feet across. Although the average cherry blossom tree in Japan is approximately 25 feet tall, with the right care some of them can grow as high as 75 feet tall, making them extraordinary-looking in every way.
- Cherry blossom petals are edible. There are many ways to prepare and use these petals, including a pickled variety that is used as a garnish, a savory, salted version, and as a lovely addition to desserts such as cakes and cookies. They can even be bought already prepared and used as a Japanese sakura tea.
- In Japan, cherry blossoms are known as sakuras, and they are the national tree, representing hope and renewal, which is perfect since they bloom in the Spring.
- Cherry blossom trees in the United States have been around since 1915, when Japan sent the trees to the U.S. as a symbol of goodwill and friendship. In return, the United States sent beautiful dogwood trees to Japan.
- In 1920, the Japanese sent cherry blossoms to the United States, but the Department of Agriculture recommended burning them because it found the tree was filled with diseases and insects. In fact, according to some sources, the incident almost caused an international diplomatic crisis when it happened.
- It is a Japanese tradition to sit underneath cherry blossom trees and have a picnic. Known as “hanami,” which translates to “flower viewing,” certain emperors and members of Japanese royalty started the tradition, and now it is a popular, centuries-old tradition that seems to be gaining adherents every year. In fact, late-night picnics, known as “yozakuras,” are even more spectacular because paper lanterns are hung on the trees to illuminate them, lending them a beauty you have to see to believe.
- Festivals centered around cherry blossoms are not just there to celebrate Spring. In fact, it has become a symbol for the friendship between Japan and the United States, which is nice to remember when you attend your next cherry blossom festival.
- Bloom predictions are made late, normally not until March, which means you’ll have to wait until the trees are almost ready to bloom to find out the approximate date when they will be blossoming in full force. It does the experts no good to try to predict when the trees will bloom too early in the year, because there are many different factors that affect this date. This is but one of the reasons bloom prediction dates are not made known until almost right before the blooms are expected to occur.
- At one point, the top-selling perfume in the U.S. was Japanese Cherry Blossom, made and sold by Bath and Body Works. This perfume is made with real cherry blossoms, as well as mimosa petals, sweet sandalwood, and crisp pears.
- The most popular scenic view of cherry blossoms in Japan is a popular postcard photograph that shows cherry blossom trees in the foreground and Mt. Fuji in the background, complemented by the beautiful lakes that surround the mountain. Most people recognize the photograph immediately and know just what it is showing.
- The place that holds the title of Cherry Blossom Capital of the World is not found in either Washington, D.C., or Japan. That place is actually Macon, Georgia, where over 300,000 cherry blossom trees of the Yoshino variety can be found throughout the city.
- Although no one knows for sure where cherry blossoms originated, it is thought to be the Himalayas, from which they migrated to Japan sometime later.
- Cherry blossoms are not always pink. In fact, they can come in colors such as greenish-yellow or white, although most do turn to pink with age.