All About the Cherry Blossom Tree

Thursday, April 8, 2021 14:25:54 PM America/Los_Angeles

Cherry blossom trees are one of the most recognized trees in the world and are known for their delicate pink and white flowers. Every spring a flurry of pink and white fills streets and parks with the fresh scent of cherry blossom and thousands of people flock to enjoy the sight. 

Cherry blossoms are the national flower of Japan and the island country can be credited for our familiarity with them today. Japan often gifted these trees to countries in the past, contributing to their current global popularity. In 1912, the U.S. received 3,020 from Japan in honor of the two countries’ burgeoning relationship.

Photo by Mark Tegethoff

Where Do Cherry Blossoms Grow?

They’re especially prevalent in Japan, but cherry blossom trees grow naturally throughout the northern hemisphere. Cities across the world plant them and the U.S. boasts its own fair share. And despite their name, they typically don’t grow edible cherries and are planted mostly as decorative trees. Some notable parks where you can spot cherry blossom trees are the National Mall (D.C.) and Sakura Park (Manhattan). However, cherry blossom trees remain the most abundant in Japan, where there are about 200 species of cherry blossom trees. 

When Do Cherry Blossoms Bloom? 

There are roughly 500 species of cherry blossoms and each has its own flowering time, but these beauties typically bloom sometime during the spring. In Japan, their time of flowering has been recorded for over 1200 years! The times have remained relatively consistent until 2021. March 2021 is recorded as being the earliest cherry blossoms have ever bloomed and many suspect climate change is the culprit. The trees sprout flowers as the weather gets warmer and as temperatures climb across the globe, the blossoms have been steadily appearing earlier.  

What Do Cherry Blossoms Symbolize? 

Cherry blossoms have had a wide range of significance in Japanese history. Traditionally, they were thought to symbolize mortality because of the brief spurt of beautiful blooms that disappear as quickly as they arrive. During World War II, they also functioned as nationalistic symbols and were widely used in political messaging. 

Today, cherry blossom trees are synonymous with spring, and festivals occur worldwide to celebrate the brief but marvelous blooming season. They’ve drawn such crowds because the tufts of blossoms only appear for a brief one to two weeks before dropping. If you’re able to catch them before they’re gone, you won’t regret viewing these lovely but short-lived blossoms! 



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