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Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms trees symbolize a bond between Japan and our country. Twelve varieties are planted on the Northern brink of the tidal basin in Washington D.C.

a path lined with budding, pink cherry blossom trees.

Photo: xerones

Cherry blossoms come in many varieties. Their seeds were brought to the United States from Japan by Charles Sargent in 1892.

Charles Sargent of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston imported cherry tree seeds from Japan in 1892. The cherry’s genus, Prunus, contains over 400 different species of trees and most are natives of Northern temperate areas. All have fruit, referred to as a drupe, that has a fleshy exterior containing an inner stone which encases the seed. What we refer to as stone fruits–cherries, plums, peaches, etc.– are drupes. These deciduous trees are broad spreaders and can grow to 66feet in zones 4-7.

The Prunus Sargentii

One of the loveliest cherry trees grown for seeds is the imported tree named after Charles Sargent, Prunus sargentii (it is customary when a plant is named for a person whose name ends in a consonant to add two ii vowels to end of the word). Prunus Sargentii is noted for its:

  • profusion of single pink flowers before the leaves emerge in the spring
  • dark freckled bark
  • black, egg-shaped drupes Prunus sargentii
  • serrated leaves that emerge as a bronze color, turn green and then, in the fall, turn orange.

Cherry Blossoms As Symbols

Since 1912 when the first two cherry trees were planted on the Northern brink of the tidal basin in Washington D.C., cherry blossoms have symbolized a bond between Japan and our country. There are twelve different species of cherry blossoms represented there.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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