Branch of Coral Colored Blossoms with Dark Background Print by Sharon Freeman

Amazing Facts About Cherry Blossoms

What are some amazing facts about cherry blossoms? We’ve curated the ultimate list. Why not? We are the International dating site a.k.a. Blossoms Dating, after all. The cherry blossom is a widely celebrated flower in Asian countries, and here are things you might not know about the trees that produce such pretty and picturesque petals:

There are hundreds of cherry tree varieties.

Japan, in particular, is home to more than 600 types of cherry trees—some types bear fruit, while others don’t. Many trees’ flowers change from dark pink to light pink to white throughout the different blossoming stages, while others progress from greenish-yellow to white to pink. One variety, called Kanzan or Prunus serrulata, was bred to have “double blossoms”—or up to 28 petals on each flower, compared to the Yoshino, or Prunus x yedoensis, tree’s five petals. 

The Five Great Sakura Trees of Japan

“Nihon Godai Zakura,” or collectively known as the Five Great Sakura Trees of Japan, has existed for centuries. The Japanese government declared these five specific cherry trees as National Natural Monuments on October 12, 1922.

They don’t bloom for long.

A cherry tree might only remain in bloom for one to two weeks. However, they only keep up their “peak color” for about three days. The timing depends on several factors, including location, heat, and daylight.

The cherry blossom, known as “sakura” in Japanese, is not Japan’s national flower.

The chrysanthemum, not the cherry blossom, is recognized as the national flower of Japan because it is the Imperial Emblem. The origin of this symbol dates back to the time of Emperor Go-Toba (1180 – 1239).

Cherry Blossoms at Goryokaku Park
Cherry Blossoms at Goryokaku Park

You’ll find cherry blossoms in a handful of countries.

The cherry blossoms of Yoshino and Kyoto are world-famous. Tourists flock to the country each spring to try their hand at a centuries-old flower viewing activity called hanami. Goryokaku Park in Hakodate, Japan, has more than 1,000 cherry trees around an old fort. You don’t have to fly to Japan to see them, though. In the U.S., the cherry blossoms of Washington, D.C., the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens in New York City, the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and the Charles River Esplanade in Boston are all beautiful in their way. You can also view the flowers in many European and Asian countries: Spain’s Jerte Valley, Bispebjerg Kirkegård in Copenhagen, Meghalaya’s Khasi Hills in India, and La Castellana, Negros Occidental, and Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines.

The Japanese tradition of hanami, or cherry blossom “flower viewing,” is over 1,000 years old.

Flowering cherry trees are essentially ornamental.

They aren’t always pink.

Flowers can range in color from pale pink to bright pink as well as white and ivory. There are also cherry trees with dark pink, yellow or green blossoms. The color of some varieties of cherry blossoms may change while they are in bloom, too.

The cherry blossom capital of the world is in the state of Georgia.

According to U.S. Congressional records, the city of Macon in Central Georgia is recognized as the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the World.” It’s home to 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees, while Washington, D.C. has fewer than 4000 trees. 

You can get arrested for plucking a cherry blossom in Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C., breaking off a blossom or branch is viewed as vandalism of federal property, so resist the urge to take a cherry blossom home with you as a souvenir. Those who break this rule could receive a citation, or worse, be arrested. It’s also illegal to climb the trees. If they sustain damage to their branches, they will never be able to grow new blossoms on that particular bough again.

Blooming Cherry Blossoms Near the Washington Monument
Blooming Cherry Blossoms Near the Washington Monument

Cherry blossoms are a symbol of friendship between the U.S. and Japan. 

The cherry blossom trees planted in Washington, D.C., were a gift from Japan to the U.S., given in 1912. The U.S. received 3,020 cherry trees of twelve different varieties from Japan, and to which the U.S. reciprocated with dogwood trees in 1915. Japan originally gifted the U.S. 2,000 cherry blossom trees on January 6, 1910. Still, the Department of Agriculture burned them after finding wood-boring insects and diseases on the trees.

Cherry Blossoms at Jefferson Memorial
Cherry Blossoms at Jefferson Memorial

The cherry trees in one Dutch municipality have proper names.

All 400 cherry blossom trees have proper names in Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest) in the Amstelveen, North-Holland, Netherlands. Two hundred trees have female Japanese names, 200 trees have female names since the Japan Women’s Club gifted the trees in 2000.

A Drone Captures Stunning Cherry Blossoms in Netherlands

Both the blossoms and leaves are edible.

In Japan, no part of the cherry blossom or sakura tree goes to waste. Several seasonal snacks feature cherry blossoms as the main ingredient. There are also two varieties of Kit Kats—sakura and roasted soybean and sakura sake—and Pocky snack sticks that taste like sakura and matcha (green tea). The preserved leaves are utilized as edible mochi wrappers (a rice cake filled with sweet bean paste), and Sakura-infused versions of Pepsi, Coke, tea, and even Starbucks lattes are all popular drinks. 

Cherry blossom ice cream is a real thing.

Baskin Robbins Japan released a limited edition cherry blossom flavored ice cream in 2016. Häagen-Dazs also released a limited edition cherry blossom pint for Valentine’s Day in the U.K. last 2018. This cherry blossom ice cream “gets its flavor and colors from sakura extract, cherry blossom flowers, and a swirl of cherry sauce.” Magnum’s new cherry blossom ice cream has a pink chocolate shell and bits of dried cherry blossom. 

They make up a top-selling fragrance in the U.S.

The top fragrance from Bath and Body Works is consistently their Japanese Cherry Blossom. They sell bout thirty million units each year of the mixture of cherry blossoms, crisp pears, mimosa petals, and sweet sandalwood.

They were the inspiration behind a LEGO sculpture.

The Guinness World Record for the largest LEGO brick cherry blossom tree ever made was set in LEGOLAND Japan in 2018. The tree was 14 feet tall, weighed more than 7,000 pounds, and constructed from more than 800,000 LEGO bricks.

George Washington didn’t chop down a cherry tree.

When confronted about the tale of damaging his father’s cherry tree with a hatchet as a young boy, George Washington allegedly confessed and said, “I cannot tell a lie.” It’s a myth that one of George Washington’s biographers, Mason Locke Weems, made up.

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