What is a Japanese cherry blossom tree? (with photos)

Japan is known for its cherry blossoms.

The Japanese cherry tree is one of the most recognized Japanese symbols. There are numerous varieties of cherry trees, and their flowers range from white to deep pink, depending on the variety. The Japanese cherry blossom tree is very important in Japanese culture, including festivals, food and Japanese art. Most cherry trees are ornamental rather than edible fruit, and the beautiful display of their blossoms in spring attracts many visitors every year.

The Japanese cherry blossom, or sakura, is a symbol of Japan.

There are numerous varieties of Japanese cherry trees, each with its own preferred growing area, growing patterns, leaves, flowers and fruits. The Japanese cherry tree belongs to the genus Prunus, to which many other stone fruit trees such as plums and peaches also belong. Deciduous in nature, they shed their leaves annually during the winter, and their profusion of flowers heralds the arrival of spring.

Tokyo is home to several cherry blossom festivals.

The tree’s beauty has led to it being cultivated in many other parts of the world, even in cooler, temperate climates. They do not do well in hot or humid areas and need deep, well-drained soil to survive. Different varieties require slightly different conditions to thrive, and the variety chosen for planting in an area should be based on these factors.

Viewing cherry blossoms – known as sakura in Japanese – is a very popular activity in Japan.

Edible cherries are found in a small number of varieties of the Japanese cherry tree, most notably the wild cherry, or Prunus avium. Ornamental cherry blossoms and leaves can also be eaten, mostly pickled or salted, and used for decoration. However, care should be taken not to eat large amounts of the leaves as they contain an anticoagulant constituent.

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Cherry trees have existed in Japan for thousands of years, the most popular being Somei Yoshino, or Prunus x yedoensis. She is also called Yoshino Cherry, named after the city of Yoshino where she grew up. It is a relatively small tree with extremely beautiful flowers, ranging from white to light pink, with a delicate scent. The flowers are arranged in groups of five or six and appear before the leaves grow in spring.

Japanese culture embraces symbolism, and the Japanese cherry tree and its flowers appear in many sectors. Due to the fleeting nature of flowers, they are often used as a symbol of mortality. The beauty of flowers and the blooming of spring also symbolize love and good luck. Cherry blossom can be found on some coins, in Japanese art and poetry, in traditional fabrics used in making kimonos, and in Japanese cinema. The annual cherry blossom festivals are held every year, celebrating the arrival of spring.

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