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Four Interesting Facts about Cherry Blossoms!

Mar 06, 2019

Spring is finally here, and the cherry blossoms (called “sakura” in Japanese) have become an international symbol of spring in Japan in recent years. Everyone can admire their beauty, but there are also some interesting facts behind the flowers. Keep reading to find out more about the beautiful cherry blossoms!

There’s more Varieties than Somei Yoshino Cherry Blossoms!

Image of Yamazakura cherry blossoms

There are many cherry blossom varieties in Japan. Somei Yoshino is one that does not grow naturally in Japan, so they were grafted into the horticultural landscape and eventually became 80% of Japan’s cherry blossom population and what people think of when they imagine the flower. When there are predictions on when the cherry blossoms will bloom, this is generally based on the Somei Yoshino flowers.

Other species include the Kawazuzakura, an early blooming flower that opens in January or February, Shidarezakura that look as if they are overflowing from the branch of the tree, Yamazakura that have been growing in the wild since long ago and were originally what Japanese people imagined when they thought of cherry blossoms and Yaezakura, a gorgeous flower with many petals that grows in clusters.

Cherry Blossoms Aren’t Actually Pink?

Image of Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms

When in full bloom, cherry blossoms are generally said to be “sakura colored”, a light shade of pink. However, if you look closely, Somei Yoshino flowers are actually closer to white.

The cherry blossoms variety that is considered “sakura colored” is the Yamazakura. When in bloom, most Yamazakura flowers are the same white as the Somei Yoshino, however the leaves on the Yamazakura trees have a reddish hue, so when you look at the trees from afar the blossoms look pink. It’s this light pink that is said to be the inspiration for the phrase “sakura colored”.

There are Eleven Steps in the Cherry Blossom Life Cycle!

In general, when a cherry blossom is on step 8 of the 11 step life cycle, it is said to be in full bloom. The steps are as follows:

Bud→ Bud expansion→ flower opens→ 10% in bloom→ 30% in bloom→
50% in bloom→ 70% in bloom→ Full bloom→ Petals start to fall→ Petals fall vigorously→ Finished

The cherry blossoms are beautiful in full-bloom, however there are many people who appreciate the flowers when the petals are starting to fall.

Sweets over Flowers! Why are Flower-Viewing Dango Three Colors?

Why are the Flower-viewing Dango (pounded rice cake snacks) sold during the cherry blossom season three colors? There is a meaning behind the three colors – pink is for spring and the cherry blossoms, white is for winter and the snow, and green is for summer and the plants that grow. Makes sense, but then why isn’t fall included in the mix? This is a Japanese pun – the phrase “fall won’t come” and “I won’t get bored” have the same pronunciation, so since fall isn’t included, the makers hope that you won’t get bored of eating this treat!

What did you think about these cherry blossoms facts? There is a lot of information surround Japan’s most famous flowers! Enjoy the cherry blossom season wherever you are, including Shinjuku!