Also called ‘Oriental Cherry’ or ‘East Asian Cherry’, the Japanese have been cultivating this tree for 2,000 years and have bred numerous varieties. A medium-sized deciduous tree which can grow up to a height of 15m (49ft), with a dense and busy crown. The bark is purple-brown with horizontal lines of prominent lenticels, which are pores. The ovate leaves are up to 20cm long with serrated margins and a long drawn out tip. The flowers are in clusters and can be white or pink appearing in April and May. They may also be double, and are often abundant. Cultivated forms rarely produce any cherries. There are many cultivated varients of this tree, ‘Kanzan’, being perhaps the most commonly grown form.
Found in parks and gardens, and planted along streets and avenues in Britain as an ornamental tree.
Most likely originally native to China, then introduced to Japan at a very early date before being introduced to Europe and then Britain where it has become a very popular spring-flowering species.
May 2013, Warley Woods, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2013.