In the right conditions Japanese flowering cherries can be utterly spectacular, twice a year.
Japanese flowering cherries (Prunus serrulata) are hybrids of garden origin that have been cultivated for ages, some for more than a thousand years. These spectacular deciduous trees are grown extensively across the temperate parts of the northern hemisphere in public parks, streets and private gardens. In South Africa they are found growing in the cooler, well-watered parts with some older specimens suggesting that they have been around for a century or more.
Most of them are small deciduous trees that burst into bloom during spring. Blossoms and foliage usually emerge simultaneously, presenting a fresh floral spectacle. Some new growth is copper or bronze, adding to the attraction of these beautiful plants. Flowers are borne in clusters and may be single, semi-double or fully double. Individual flower sizes also vary, as do the colours – from white and cream to different shades of pink and sometimes green. Attractive autumn foliage in shades of gold and tawny orange is another attribute of Japanese cherries that sometimes goes unnoticed.
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