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Prunus serrulata or Japanese Cherry; also called Hill Cherry, Oriental Cherry or East Asian Cherry, is a species of cherry native to Japan, Korea and China. It is known for its spring cherry blossom displays and festivals.

Description

Prunus serrulata is a small deciduous tree with a short single trunk, with a dense crown reaching a height of 8–12 metres (26–39 ft). The smooth bark is chestnut-brown, with prominent horizontal lenticels. The leaves are arranged alternately, simple, ovate-lanceolate, 5–13 cm long and 2.5–6.5 cm broad, with a short petiole and a serrate or doubly serrate margin. At the end of autumn, the green leaves turn yellow, red or crimson.

Flowers
Main article: Cherry blossom

The flowers are produced in racemose clusters of two to five together at nodes on short spurs in spring at the same time as the new leaves appear; they are white to pink, with five petals in the wild type tree. The fruit is a globose black drupe 8–10 mm diameter.

Cultivation

Prunus serrulata is widely grown as a flowering ornamental tree, both in its native countries and throughout the temperate regions of the world. Numerous cultivars have been selected, many of them with double flowers with the stamens replaced by additional petals.

In cultivation in Europe and North America, it is usually grafted on to Prunus avium ‘Wild Cherry’ roots; the cultivated forms rarely bear fruit. It is viewed as part of the Japanese custom of Hanami.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a spring celebration in Washington, D.C., commemorating the 1912 gift of Prunus serrulata Japanese cherry trees from Tokyo to the city of Washington. They are planted in the Tidal Basin park.

Varieties and cultivars

There are several varieties:

  • Prunus serrulata var. serrulata (syn. var. spontanea). Japan, Korea, China.
  • Prunus serrulata var. hupehensis (Ingram) Ingram. Central China. Not accepted as distinct by the Flora of China.
  • Prunus serrulata var. lannesiana (Carrière) Makino (syn. Cerasus lannesiana Carrière; Prunus lannesiana (Carrière) E. H. Wilson). Japan.
  • Prunus serrulata var. pubescens (Makino) Nakai. Korea, northeastern China.
  • Prunus serrulata var. spontanea (Maxim.) E. H. Wilson (syn. Prunus jamasakura Siebold ex Koidz.)

Some important cultivars include:

  • ‘Amonogawa’. Fastigate Cherry, with columnar habit; flowers semi-double, pale pink.
  • ‘Kwanzan’. = ‘Sekiyama’, ‘Kanzan’, or ‘Kansan’.[1] Kanzan Cherry. Flowers pink, double; young leaves bronze-coloured at first, becoming green.
  • ‘Kiku-shidare’. Cheal’s Weeping Cherry. Stems weeping; flowers double, pink. Tends to be short-lived.
  • ‘Shirofugen’. Flowers double, deep pink at first, fading to pale pink.
  • ‘Shirotae’. Mt. Fuji Cherry. Very low, broad crown with nearly horizontal branching; flowers pure white, semi-double.
  • ‘Tai Haku’. Great White Cherry. Flowers single, white, very large (up to 8 cm diameter); young leaves bronze-coloured at first, becoming green.
  • ‘Ukon’.
Written on April 23rd, 2012 , Fruits Tags:

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