Native to Asia, Japan and Other Countries
Cherry Flowering Branches come from the trees of the Prunus genus, particularly the Japanese Cherry (Prunus serrulata) or “sakura”. Native to many parts of east Asia, including Japan, Korea and China, they have been imported and cultivated throughout the United States. Japan alone has over 200 varieties of cherry. Most of the cherry trees cultivated for their blossoms do not bear fruit. Although the cherry blossoms and leaves are edible (and are used in Japan as food ingredients), the coumarin in the leaves is toxic and should not be consumed in large quantities.
Cherry blossom trees have been revered in Japan for centuries because their magnificent beauty is rich in powerful symbolism. The most popular tree variety is the Somei Yoshino which has a flower of pure white tinged with faint pink near its stem. Like most of these species, its blossoms bloom en masse creating a spectacular show of beauty, then fall within a week. The Japanese believe this symbolizes mortality and the ephemeral nature of life. The sakura is used in many art forms in the Japanese culture to demonstrate this belief and it is ubiquitous in consumer goods from clothing to chinaware. In wartime, Japanese pilots would take the cherry blossom branches with them on missions or paint them on the side of their planes, resulting in its association with the sacrifice of youth in suicide missions to honor their ruler. Today, people of all ages still practice the centuries old tradition of “Hanami”, picnicking under the a flowering cherry blossom tree. In the United States, the cherry blossoms are celebrated each spring at numerous festivals held wherever they are planted en masse. The most famous of these is the National Cherry Blossom Festival held in mid to late March in Washington, D.C. Japan gave the U.S. 3.020 cherry trees in 1912 to celebrate the nations’ growing friendship, then added another gift of 3,800 trees in 1965. Originally planted in Sakura Park in New York, the trees now line the shores of the D.C. tidal basin. Peak bloom dates vary depending on the weather, but usually occur mid March to mid April.
Growing Recommendations - Cherry Blossoms
Cherry flowering branches make beautiful floral bouquets, either alone or in combination with other flowers. Although they are available in nature for just a short bloom period, they can be purchased commercially and enjoyed year-round. If you are wanting to grow a cherry tree. We suggestion buying multiple varieties. Plant them in an area that drains well. Protect them from birdlife with netting if necessary. They do grow well here in Georgia, but, take time to prepare your soil well in advance of dropping in your trees.