Type of cherry tree

How many types of cherries are there?

If you have tried cherries and did not like them, maybe you just haven’t found your type? Find out how many types of cherries are out there in the world, as well as the most popular varieties. We are sure that there is at least one type out there that is just right for you!

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What is a cherry?

In case you have no clue what a cherry is and you have never seen one, it is a small, mostly round fruit that grows on trees. Its colour ranges from yellow to dark red, and its taste depends on its type, but it is frequently sweet or sour. Cherries can be cultivated, but lots of cherry trees also grow in the wild.

Now, when it comes to calculating all the different types of cherries fruit, many are stumped, as there are quite a lot of variations. According to different calculations, there are around 1,200 varieties of cherries in the world, each with its own unique taste and appearance. Impressive, isn’t it? The country that produces the most cherries is Germany, closely followed by the United States.

Most common cherry fruit types

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READ ALSO: What class of food is plantain?

While we cannot tell you about all 1,200 different types of cherries, we can tell you a little bit about the 10 most popular ones. Here are the list of types of cherries that you will most likely see at your local store/market:

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Rainiers. If you have a lot of cash to spare, then go for this type. Named after Mount Rainier, Washington’s highest peak, these cherries are probably among the most expensive ones. Unlike most other cherries, these ones are mostly light yellow with a tinge of pink, which is why they are known as white cherries. Another name for them is Princess cherries. They are very sweet, and you can find them in June-August.

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Lapins. These cherries are quite big compared to the other ones (up to 2.5 cm in size). They are usually sweet, which makes them perfect for making jams. Unfortunately, they are not available for all that long, so get them while you can between mid-July and mid-August.

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Bings. Bings are probably the most common variety of cherries. They are often found in supermarkets everywhere. You can recognise them by their deep red colour, heart shape and distinctively sweet taste. They appear on the shelves much earlier than other varieties, and they are available for longer. People frequently use Bing cherries for jellies and jams. You can find them from mid-spring to mid-summer.

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Van Cherry. This variety is similar to the Bing cherry, only these ones are slightly smaller. They have the same sweet taste and deep red colour of the skin, and they are usually firm. Unlike Bing, however, Van Cherries are best consumed fresh.

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Lambert. If you do not want your cherries to be too sweet, then this type is perfect for you. Deep red in colour and large in size, these cherries are not nearly as sweet as the other ones mentioned on this list, so you can use them in cooking without the risk of making the dish too sweet. Lambert cherries are available in mid-July.

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Skeena. While a lot of the cherries are usually red or sometimes even pinkish yellow, Skeena cherries are so dark that they are almost black. They are kidney-shaped and sweet, and their flesh is dark red. This type of cherry is often used for making pies and desserts. These cherries are usually available from mid-July to mid-August.

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Sweetheart. As you could probably guess from the name, these cherries are quite sweet. Overall, they look very lovely thanks to their bright colour and heart shape, which makes them perfect for decorating desserts. Even the tree itself looks very lovely when it is covered in cherries. Sweetheart cherries are available late in the season, so you can find them around August.

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Santina. Santina cherries are deep dark red in colour and oval in shape. They are moderately big and moderately sweet, which makes them great for cake decoration (when you just do not want any more sweetness). These are early cherries, available as early as the end of May-mid-June.

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Chelan. These cherries are known for their tart flavour and firmness. Its mahogany skin is unique and very beautiful. Similarly to Santina cherries, they are harvested fairly early in the season, a few weeks before Bing cherries, meaning that you can enjoy them as early as May and all the way into June.

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Tulare. Do not be deceived by the fact that these cherries look a lot like Bing or Chelan. These have much more tart flavour than their fruity siblings. They also have a tangy aftertaste. Just like Chelan or Bing, these cherries are available early in the season, around May-June.

As you can see, there are lots of cherries to choose from. Unfortunately, not all 1,200 varieties are available worldwide, but it is only more reason to plan a fun summer trip to countries that are most known for their cherries! Which type do you like the most? Let us know in the comments.

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Types of Cherries

Types of Cherries

With over 1,000 different types in existence, there is a cherry out there for everyone’s taste buds. The most familiar types are maraschino, black, bing, and rainier cherries. The choke cherry, black stone cherry, morello, north star, napoleon, and Spanish cherry cherries are some of the less well known types. Many of them come from the subgenus Cerasus and are cultivated in the Northern Hemisphere in at least twenty different countries. These tasty antioxidant fruits grow best in temperate climates, and their peak season is summer. The seeds of a cherry do require some cold to germinate, which is why they cannot grow in tropical weather. With all the types of cherry, it’s hard to know where to start. Unfortunately, not all the types are edible or as delicious as others. The most popular types of cherries are: maraschino, black, bing, and rainier cherries. You can find these cherries in supermarkets all across the western world. The following is a list of the more familiar types of cherries, along with some lesser known (but not obscure) ones: Here is a list of cherry types.

  • Bing
  • Black
  • Black Stone Cherry
  • Chelan
  • Choke Cherry
  • Lapins
  • Maraschino
  • Morello
  • Napoleon
  • North Star
  • Rainier
  • Spaantioxidant-fruits.comsh Cherry
  • Sweetheart
  • Tieton

Cherry Categories Most often, cherry types are divided into two categories: sweet (P. avium) and sour (P. cerasus). Sweet cherries are often eaten plain, while sour/tart cherries are used for cooking (adding flavor and the like). These two categories have different benefits. Sweet cherries are less physically health, providing both fiber and vitamin C but not in quantities as significant (to Daily Value) as with sour cherries. Sour cherries contain high percentages of vitamins A and C and beta carotene. The acerola cherry is reported to have a vitamin C content higher than any other fruit we know of. The montmorency and balaton varieties of cherries are produced primarily in Michigan. Bing cherries and rainer cherries are extremely well-known varieties, and the former is produced primarily in Michigan. Montgomery cherries are popular in the midwest U.S. and fit into the sour category. They are used frequently as pie fillings or fruity sauces. You’ll find tieton cherries displayed in most grocery stores due to their sweet flavor, large size, and glossiness, which make them appear enticing. Health Benefits of Cherries Research has been conducted to establish the amount of anthocyanins in cherries and their effects. So far, the studies suggest that cherries can have an effect on inflammation and pain. In one study, tart cherry powder combined with a high-fat diet, was fed to rats. These rats did not gain as much body weight as others. This suggest tart cherries could reduce weight gain, but further research is necessary on this topic. Most recently, scientists have tested cherries’ effect on sufferers of gout. They found that individuals who eat cherries regularly had a 35-75% lower risk of experiencing an attack of gout, which causes joint inflammation that is incredibly painful. The lead researcher of this study urges sufferers not to give up on their gout medication, but to increase their cherry intake in combination with it. The year following this study, the research team checked in with participants and found that those consuming cherry extract had a 45% decrease in attacks. The most significant change was for those eating raw cherries, who experienced a 75% drop. Simply amazing! For more information, read how cherries work to prevent gout. Read and learn more about cherries! Visit the following pages on this site:

  • Acerola Cherry
  • Antioxidants in Tart Cherries
  • Cherry General Information
  • Fresh Cherry Recipes
  • Health Benefits of Cherries
  • Fresh Cherry Recipes

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C H E R R Y (Prunus Cerasus)

How to Identify Cherry


Botanical Name
Prunus Cerasus

Known Hazards
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Could be confused with
Other cherry trees as they are able to hybridise very easily, used similarly.

Range and Distribution
Mainland and northern Europe, England, Western Asia and Northern America.

Garden edges, hedges, open fields and planted woodland.

Physical Characteristics

Wild Cherry is a deciduous tree growing up to 6ms tall, with a rough light to mid brown bark that can appear to give a dull grey glow.
The leaves are elliptic with acute or pointed tips; the edges are slightly serrated containing long petioles (the stem between leaf and branch).

The Flowers display the most amazing bloom throughout may, seeming to cover the whole tree whilst the leaves are still in infancy. Individual flowers, 3-4cms wide, produce 5 distinct white/pink petals.

Multiple rounded fruits stem from the same point on each branch and look like stereotypical cherries, hanging down 2-3cms on their individual stalks.

Edible Use:


Sour cherries have fairly high amounts of melatonin, a chemical vital in regulating human sleep cycles, it has therefore been used in the past to aid sleep patterns of individuals.

This tree bares fruit with a single large pip, meaning you can tap the tree, or remove some of the bark until sap starts to leak from the trunk. This sap can be used as a replacement to gum Arabic in making water colour paints. It must be noted that the sap of the cherry tree will shrink a lot more than gum Arabic and this must be taken in to account when adding constituent ingredients to your paint mix (less pigment and honey).

How to identify cherry blossoms

I used to take lots of pictures of cherry blossoms, then come home and browse through the guide Ornamental cherries in Vancouver to try to find out what kind of cherry tree it was.

At the Blossom Biology workshop with Douglas Justice, I learnt that identifying cherry trees is a process: you can’t identify the cherry tree by looking solely at the blossoms. The color of the emerging leaves (green or copper) and the color of the blossoms (some will open pink and turn white) will give you clues on its identity. The shape of the tree, too.

This means you need to photograph more than just the blossoms if you want to be able to identify a cherry tree. Here are some tips:

  • Diffused light is best. Block the sun with a book so there are no shadows on the flower. This will allow you to capture the color of the blossoms (some hints of pink on a white flower can be a clue).
  • Measure the blossoms or photograph them next to a nickel or quarter to give an idea of the scale. Or use the ruler printed on the last page of the book Ornamental cherries in Vancouver.
  • Capture the whole tree. The shape of the crown will give you tips on what kind of tree it is. Fore more info, check out these drawings of cherry tree shapes by Wendy Cutler on the UBC forum showing different crowns: vase, umbrella, narrow, etc.
  • Look at the emerging flowers and leaves (some leaves are copper, others are green).
  • Examine the old flowers (some blossoms will come out pink and become white).
  • Number of petals (single flowers have 5 petals, semi-double flowers have 6-10 petals, double blossoms have 10 petals or more, and chrysanthemum cherry blossoms can have 100 petals!
  • Scent (some cherry trees will have a fragrant almond scent).
  • Part of the flowers: prunus avium is a white cherry tree easily recognizable by its recurved sepals (the leafy part shaped like a star that is usually in contact with the back of the flower is sticking up):

If you’ve taken care of noting all these elements, identifying cherry trees will be easier.

Cherry Tree Varieties: Types Of Cherry Trees For The Landscape

At this writing, spring has sprung and that means cherry season. I love Bing cherries and no doubt this variety of cherry is one most of us are familiar with. However, there are a number of cherry tree types. Among the varieties of cherry trees, is there a cherry tree suited for your landscape? Read on to learn more.

Types of Cherry Trees

The two basic cherry tree types are those that yield sweet cherries that can be eaten immediately picked off the tree and sour cherry or backing cherries. Both cherry tree types ripen early and are ready for harvest in the late spring. Most sweet cherries need a pollinizer while sour cherries are predominantly self-fruitful.

Common Cherry Tree Types

  • Chelan has an upright, vigorous habit with fruit that matures two weeks ahead of Bing cherries and are resistant to cracking.
  • Coral has large, firm fruit with excellent flavor and low susceptibility to cracking.
  • Critalin bears early and is an excellent pollinizer and bears dark, red, juicy fruit.
  • Rainier is a mid-season cherry that is yellow with a red blush.
  • Early Robin matures a week earlier than Rainier. It is mild in flavor with a semi-free stone and a heart shape.
  • Bing cherries are large, dark and one of the most common commercially sold cherries.
  • Black Tartarian is a terrific bearer of large purple-black, sweet, juicy fruit.
  • Tulare is similar to Bing and stores well for a long time.
  • Glenare has very large, sweet, clingstone type fruit of dark red.
  • Utah Gold has larger, firmer fruit than Bing and is partially freestone.
  • Van has reddish black, sweet cherries and is an excellent pollinator.
  • Attika is a late-blooming cherry tree with large, dark fruit.
  • Regina has fruit that is mild and sweet and tolerant to cracking.
  • Emperor Francis is a white- or yellow-fleshed cherry that is sweet and often used as maraschino cherries.
  • Ulster is another sweet cherry, black in color, firm and moderately resistant to rain cracking.
  • English Morello is a sour type of cherry prized by pie makers and for commercial juices.
  • Montmorency is the most popular variety of sour cherry, making up 96% of the total production for commercial pie fillings and toppings.

Self-Fertile Varieties of Cherry Trees

Amongst the self-fertile cherry tree varieties you will find:

  • Vandalay, a large, wine colored fruit.
  • Stella also has large fruit in a blood red hue. Stella is very productive but sensitive to cold. Tehranivee is a mid-season, self-fertile cherry.
  • Sonata is sometimes called Sumleta TM and has large, black fruit.
  • Whitegold is an early mid-season, sweet cherry.
  • Symphony matures late in the season with large, vibrantly red cherries that are resistant to rain crack.
  • Blackgold is a late mid-season, sweet cherry with a tolerance of spring frost.
  • Sunburst is very productive with large, firm fruit.
  • Lapins is somewhat crack resistant.
  • Skeena is a dark mahogany cherry.
  • Sweetheart matures late with large fruit. Sweetheart types of cherry trees are prolific fruiters with dark-red, medium to large cherries but they need pruning to keep them from getting out of hand.
  • Benton is another self-fertile cherry tree for the landscape that ripens mid-season and has been reputed to surpass Bing cherries.
  • Santina is an early black cherry with a sweeter flavor than other black cherries.

10 Types of Japanese Cherry Trees You’ll Fall in Love With!

Date published: 28 January 2020

How would you describe Japanese cherry blossoms – ‘sakura blossoms’? A pretty pink flower? A sign of spring? A symbol of Japan? While all of these statements are true, they don’t quite paint the whole picture.
It may be surprising to learn that ‘sakura’ does not refer to a single type of flower, but rather, several cherry blossom tree types! Read on as we share more about these fascinating sakura flowers.

What color are Japanese cherry tree flowers?

While all cherry blossoms share some common traits, there are some striking differences found within the Japanese cherry tree flower (sakura) family. Take a closer look and you’ll find variation in color, shape, size, and more. While most Japanese sakura blossoms are a shade of pale pink, they can be white, dark pink, or even yellow!
In fact, Japan is home to over 200 varieties of Japanese cherry trees, including wild and cultivated types. Here are some of the most common varieties of sakura blossoms in Japan – see if you can spot them in the wild.

Types of Japanese cherry blossom trees

This is the most commonly cultivated variety of sakura. They can be seen throughout Japan, first blooming in late March in Kyushu and Shikoku, continuing with blooms that can be seen in late April in Tokyo, and as late as May in northern areas such as Aomori.
A single-flowering variety, each blossom consists of just five petals. The color is such a pale pink, that the flowers nearly appear to be white. Blossoms are clustered in bunches, which open before the tree’s leaves.
When do Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo?
Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms start blooming in mid-April in Tokyo.

2. Yamazakura

Yamazakura takes the top spot among the most commonly viewed wild sakura flowers. These sakura, also known as Hill Cherry, can often be spotted among Japan’s mountains. Like the Yoshino, these sakura blossoms also appear in light pink petals of five.
When do Yamazakura cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo?
One distinguishing feature of the Yamazakura is that its blossoms typically open at the same time as the tree’s leaves, between March and April in the Kanto area.

3. Shidarezakura (Japanese weeping cherry tree)

The English name for this variety is the Japanese Weeping Cherry tree, and it is easy to see why. The blossoms on the tree’s characteristic drooping branches are the official flower of Kyoto Prefecture.
These sakura blossoms bloom fairly early in the season, about a week before the Somei Yoshino. The most famous Shidarezakura is the Miharu Takizakura (Miharu Waterfall Cherry Tree) in Fukushima. This Japanese cherry tree, which has grown for over 1,000 years, is one of the five great cherry trees of Japan!
When do weeping cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo?
In Tokyo, weeping cherry blossoms tend to start blooming in early April.

4. Edohigan

Edohigan are among the earliest blooming sakura. The name derives from its blossoming coinciding with Western Japan’s spring equinox, called higan. The small flower’s petals are pale pink, and can be distinguished by a round, swollen calyx.
Japan’s oldest known tree, the 2,000 year old Yamataka Jindai Sakura is an Edohigan: you can see it blossom in Yamanashi sometime between early to mid-April.

5. Kanzan

Kanzan flowers fall under the classification of Yaezakura, or “double blossom” sakura, which includes any sakura flower with more than five petals per blossom.
Kanzan are especially spectacular, showing as many as 50 petals per blossom. These hearty, late-blooming flowers are easily recognizable by their deep pink color and voluminous bunches.
When do Kanzan cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo?
Kanzan cherry blossoms tend to open in mid April in Tokyo.

6. Ichiyou

The meaning of ‘Ichiyo’ is ‘one leaf.’ When this 20-40 petal blossom is fully open, a single pistil (which is thought to look a bit like a leaf) protrudes from the center, hence its name. An abundance of inner white petals, encased in a pale pink outer layer, give this sakura flower a subtle color. Bright green leaves surround the sakura blossoms.
When do Ichiyou cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo?
The blossoms are so prominent in Asakusa, that a festival dedicated to them is held each April.

7. Kanhizakura

Japanese cherry tree blossoms aren’t limited to mainland Japan; the warm southern island of Okinawa has some special sakura of its own. Kanhizakura may not look like the typical sakura blossom, but the striking sakura is celebrated in not only Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, but in Vietnam, China, and Taiwan, as well. The fuchsia flower is also known as the Taiwan cherry, bellflower cherry, or the Formosan cherry.
When do Kanhizakura cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo?
These are some of the earliest blooming sakura, with some opening as early as January.

8. Kikuzakura

The name of this flower translates to “chrysanthemum cherry blossom” due to its resemblance to Japan’s beloved Kiku (chrysanthemum) flower. Kikuzakura can be recognized by their pom-pom appearance, surrounded by large leaves. Each sakura blossom has anywhere from 80 to 130 soft pink petals.
When do Kikuzakura cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo?
This variety blooms relatively late in the season; blossoms can be seen in the Tokyo area sometimes up to early May.

9. Ukon

While the color of sakura typically falls somewhere along the spectrum of whites and pinks, Ukon sakura, with its yellow-hued blossoms, is the exception to the rule. In Japanese, ‘ukon’ is the word for turmeric, the spice that gives Indian curry its yellow color (and is also widely used in Japan as a hangover prevention remedy).
Due to a strong resemblance, these curry-colored flowers also became known by the same name. This is another yaezakura (double-blossom) variety, with petals usually numbering between 15 to 20 per flower.
When do Ukon cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo?
It blooms roughly the same time as the Ichiyou, usually mid-April in Tokyo.

10. Fugenzou

The name of this unusual sakura flower has an even more unusual origin: In Japanese, the literal translation of fugenzou is ‘Samantabhadra elephant.’ This is a reference to the Bodhisattva often depicted mounted on an elephant in Buddhist artwork.
The people of the Muromachi Period (1336 to 1573) believed the pistils of Fugenzou sakura to resemble the image. This Japanese cherry tree blossom can be characterized by its incredible number of petals (sometimes as many as 40 per blossom), as well as its jagged leaves. The color is mainly pink, with a tinge of red.
When do Fugenzou cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo?
Fugenzou is another late-blooming sakura, typically reaching its peak in mid to late April in Tokyo.

Related Sakura Flower Articles

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*This information is from the time of this article’s publication.

*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

Of all of the different types of cherry trees that are available, you can usually find them grouped into three categories.

The flowering types of cherry trees are generally planted for their display of floral beauty in the springtime.

Sweet cherry trees are planted for the pleasure of eating the fruit.

Sour cherry trees are grown for making pies, preserves and canning.

Choosing A Cherry Tree To Plant

If you’re thinking about planting a cherry tree, you need to decide if you want one with fruits or flowers.

Are you looking to be able to pick the cherries and use the tree for practical reasons, or do you really just want to add a gorgeous piece of floral decoration to your landscaping?

If you decide on a fruit tree, you have to consider another species possibly for cross-pollination, and if you have room for the two.

Below are a few favorite picks of different types of cherry trees:

Weeping Cherry Tree – This cherry tree is also commonly known as the Higan Cherry tree.

This breathtaking tree produces white or pink floral blossoms on limbs that have a “weeping” quality to them. These trees are often planted by water, including ponds, pools and large fountains so the water can reflect their beauty.
Yoshino Cherry Tree – This species is a Japanese Cherry tree, also flowering, that will produce white blossoms in the spring that smell amazing.

This is the kind of tree you plant where you’ll be able to enjoy the aroma waking you up through your bedroom window in the spring reminding you it’s a wonderful season.

In addition to its charming flowers, it has glossy dark leaves and a wet looking bark that make it quite unique to look at even when it’s not in bloom.

At full maturity, this tree can grow up to 50 feet tall. It is important when deciding what types of cherry trees that you want to plant that you take into consideration how much room you are willing to allow it to grow.
Bing Cherry Tree – Of all the types of cherry trees available, the Bing is the most popular.

The tree produces very sweet cherries that are ready to eat right off of the tree in the very late spring or early summer.

This species grows up to 30 feet tall and requires another type of cherry tree for cross-pollination.
Early Richmond Cherry Tree – In the late spring, the Early Richmond Cherry tree produces a very bright red but very sour fruit. If you plan on baking a lot of pies or making preserves that this is the tree for you. This tree is self-pollinating and when it is fully grown is generally smaller than a lot of other cherry trees and grow to a maximum of 15 to 18 feet tall.
Sunburst Cherry Tree – This self-pollinating cherry tree finds itself being a cross between the Van and the Stella Cherry trees. Its fruit is skinned, dark and irresistibly sweet, and it is ready to harvest in mid-summer.
Montmorency Cherry Tree – This is a popular tree in the family of sour cherry trees. Like the Early Richmond, it is ideal for producing fruit for preserves and pies. It grows to 30 feet tall and it is self-pollinating. This tree bears a lot of fruit.

Planting any type of tree is always a smart decision, but one that should be well thought out. Cherry trees come in an array of sizes and with different purposes, so you want to be sure that you have the proper growing room for certain species.

Take the time, go through the information on different types of cherry trees and choose one that is right for you.

Which Flowering Cherry Tree for my Garden?

The cherry blossom (sakura) is Japan’s unofficial national flower. Celebrated for centuries, it is esteemed as the most beautiful and important of flowers in the Japanese culture. In spring, during the blossom-viewing season called Hanami, flowering cherries are celebrated with huge festivals, parties and family picnics wherever the cherries grow.

The term “flowering cherry” refers to seven species of Prunus (Prunus campanulata, P. incisa, P. jamasakura, P. serrulata, P. sargentii, P. spachiana (syn. subhirtella), and P. speciosa) and their cultivars. According to the Flower Association of Japan, there are over three hundred species, varieties and hybrids of Japanese flowering cherries. These flowering cherries come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes and several are excellent additions to the garden. All are incredibly beautiful.

There are several characteristics differentiating the many cherry tree varieties. Some of the obvious ones which are of particular interest to gardeners are listed below.

Number of petals

Cherry blossoms have from 5 to more than 300 petals (!) They can be divided into 4 groups based on the number of their petals. Single flowers feature 5 petals and sometimes 1-3 extra petals. Semi-double flowers boast 10-20 petals while double flowers exhibit 25-50 petals. The impressive chrysanthemum flowers are packed with over 100 petals. In Japan, many people would consider these double or chrysanthemum flowers quite gaudy. Their most popular and acclaimed cherry blossom is the Yoshino (Prunus x yedoensis), which has five white petals and is treasured for its delicate, simple form.

The same cultivar may display single flowers with 5 petals on one specimen, but 15 petals per flower on another specimen. Soil fertility may have an impact on these variations as less petals tend to be produced in lean soils.

The petals may be oval, egg-shaped or round. They may be wrinkled, frilled or display wavy margins.

Single Flowers
Prunus x yedoensis ‘Somei-Yoshino’

Semi-Double Flowers
Prunus ‘Accolade’

Double Flowers
Prunus ‘Kanzan’

Chrysanthemum Flowers
Prunus ‘Asano’

Color of the blossoms

Most cherry flowers are light pink to white, but there are also cherry trees with dark pink, yellow or green blossoms. Appreciating the color of these lovely blooms is however not always easy because cherry blossoms change color over their life. Many are dark pink when in bud, lighter pink when they first blossom, and then eventually pale pink or white when fully open. Some cherries, such as ‘Shirofugen’, see their whole flower color change from white to pink, giving an entirely new look at the end of the flowering season.

White blossoms
Prunus ‘Shogetsu’

Soft Pink blossoms
Prunus x yedoensis ‘Akebono’

Deep Pink blossoms
Prunus ‘Kiku-shidare-zakura’

Fragrant blossoms

Many Japanese flowering cherries are fragrant and exude a pleasing scent of crushed almond. Prunus ‘Amanogawa’ is reported by some as having a freesia fragrance. However, in cold and rainy days, their fragrance is barely perceptible, except for strongly scented cherries such as ‘Amanogawa’ or ‘Jo-nioi’. The Japanese word ‘nioi’ means fragrance and is often added to the cultivar name.

Blooming Season

Most cherry tree varieties bloom in spring over a season that usually lasts several weeks. However, changes in weather conditions may have an impact on the time of flowering, advancing or delaying the appearance of the beloved cherry blossoms by several weeks. Generally, the milder the climate, the earlier the blossoms open.

Spring as a season can be short and last only 3 weeks, as in Japan. In moderate climate areas, such as Britain or the Netherlands, spring may last 6 weeks and even more.

The cherry blossom season is relatively short. There may be 2 or 3 weeks between the opening of the first blossom and the shedding of the petals. Generally, the double flowers last longer than the single ones. Strong wind and rain can reduce the blooming season even shorter.

Not all cherry trees bloom at the same time. There are early bloomers such as Prunus pendula ‘Pendula Rosea’ and Prunus x yedoensis (Yoshino cherry). They are followed by garden cherries, including the lovely Prunus ‘Accolade’, the deep pink Prunus pendula ‘Pendula Rosea’, and pure white Prunus ‘Umineko’. Closing the spring season is the incredibly popular Prunus ‘Kanzan’ or Prunus ‘Shogetsu’.

Some Cherry tree varieties enjoy a particularly long blooming season and flower in flushes in the fall and during the winter months. Among them are Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’ (Rosebud Cherry) and Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’.

Early Blooming Flowering Cherry
Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-No-Mai’

Mid-Season Flowering Cherry
Prunus ‘Shirotae’

Late Blooming Flowering Cherry
Prunus ‘Pink Perfection’

Cherry Tree Leaves

Although ornamental cherry trees are typically planted for the majestic yet delicate beauty of their flowers, many varieties are noted for their lovely foliage and multi-season interest. Some display wonderful fall color, with their foliage warming up to brilliant shades of gold, red, or orange.

Usually, the foliage unfolds in the spring, either before the flowers, at the same time, or after the blossoms open. In case of early blooming cherry varieties, the new leaves appear only after the blossoms wanes, which creates a spectacular look with thousands of showy pink-white blossoms smothering the bare branches – a sight to behold. In case of later blooming cherry varieties, the leaves usually appear before the blossoms, giving the trees a very different look.

The color of the news leaves differs between cherry varieties. In most cases, the fresh leaves are green with a bronze hue. They generally mature to dark green and create a lovely summer canopy. Some cherry varieties display wonderful fall color, with their foliage warming up to brilliant shades of gold, red, or orange, before shedding to the ground.

Cherry Tree Shapes

Japanese flowering cherries enjoy graceful shapes that command attention and create beautiful features in winter. There are 5 types of tree shapes and habits:

  • Fastigiate or columnar shape with an erect, narrow crown (Prunus ‘Amanogawa’).
  • Broad and ovate
  • Funnel shape or vase-like (Prunus ‘Kanzan’), becoming very broad over time (Prunus ‘Ichiyo’)
  • Umbrella shape with a very broad and flattened crown. The limbs are thick and horizontal (Prunus ‘Shirotae’)
  • Weeping shape with frothy curtains of pink or white blossoms. Their slender and flexible branches lead them to gracefully weep, sometimes almost kissing the ground. Swaying in the wind, their cascading branches form an umbrella where everyone would want to stand under (Prunus ‘Kiku-shidare-zakura’).

Funnel shape becoming very broad
Prunus ‘Ichiyo’

Weeping Shape
Prunus pendula

Umbrella shape with a broad and flattened crown
Prunus ‘Shirofugen’

Fastigiate shape

Growing Flowering Cherries

Flowering cherry trees do well in most residential gardens because their care requirements are minimal. They are not demanding in regard to soil type or pH requirements, but should be watered thoroughly after planting and until the tree is well-established. Like all cherry trees, ornamental flowering cherries are susceptible to insect and fungal disease problems. Regular pruning to thin out branches and allow for better air and light circulation will help keep your tree healthy. The best time to prune is just after spring flowering. Many fungal diseases can be treated by application of a fungicide. Signs of disease include powdery mildew, hard knots or swelling on branches, leaf spot, and discolored or wilted leaves.

  • Performs best in full sun in moist, relatively fertile, well-drained soils.
  • Prune in midsummer if silver leaf is a problem
  • Watch for caterpillars, leaf-mining moths, bullfinches, silver leaf, bacterial canker and blossom wilt.
  • Propagate by budding or grafting, although softwood cuttings in early summer with bottom heat can be successful.

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