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Pandora cherry blossoms at Fairlawn/Brentlawn in Burnaby

 

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There are six Pandora cherry trees blooming behind the Brentwood Mall at Fairlawn/Brentlawn in Burnaby.

How to identify Pandora cherry trees

I’ve been wondering for the past three years what type of cherry trees they were. Since I’ve recently completed my cherry scout training with the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival,  I decided to visit the trees again to try to identify them.  Here’s how I determined they were Pandora cherry trees.  I hope these tips will help you recognize Pandora cherry trees in your neighbourhood.

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Season

When you want to identify a cherry tree, the time of the year when the tree is blooming can be a clue: some trees bloom earlier than others. The guide to Ornamental cherries in Vancouver lists all cherry trees in order of blooming time, so it’s very helpful for cherry scouts.  At this time of the year, I know there are only a few possibilities: Whitcomb, Accolade, Pandora, Akebono…

The six trees on Fairlawn bloom  early  in the season, usually at the same time of plum trees.  Since it’s too soon for Akebono at the time, and the blossoms don’t have any extra petals (a sixth incomplete petal that sometimes grow on Akebono blossom at the beginning of the season), I eliminate the possibility of them being Akebono.

The number of petals

Because the blossoms on Fairlawn street have only five petals, they cannot be Accolade – Accolade have more than 5 petals – so I eliminate this possibility.

 

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The color of the blossoms

The tip of the petals are a darker shade of pink (which is the main characteristics of Pandora cherry blossoms).  If these were Whitcomb blossoms, the blossoms would be completely dark pink. At this stage, I’m pretty sure these are Pandora cherry blossoms. I only have to look at my feet to confirm it…

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How the blossoms fall

Pandora cherry blossoms are particularly easy to identify because their blossoms fall intact on the ground. You won’t find petals under Pandora tree, but grass covered in flowers!

The more cherry trees you visit, the better you will be at identifying them. The fact that I had already seen Pandora cherry trees at Mount Pleasant Park  last year  helped me identify the Pandora trees in Burnaby today.

Pandora cherry trees are in bloom everywhere in the city. Find them now on our neighborhood map.

 

All photos by Jessica Tremblay

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Cherry Scouts Photos

Whitcomb at Westridge Elementary School 615 Duncan/Union

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This Whitcomb cherry tree is located outside Westridge Elementary School at 615 Duncan/Union in Burnaby. There are two park benches underneath.

Wthicomb cherry trees are in full bloom right now.  Find Whitcomb cherry trees in your area with the VCBF Neighborhood map.

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Cherry Scouts Photos

Whitcomb at 6543 Union/Kensington at sunset

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This Whitcomb cherry tree at 6543 Union/Kensington was glowing in the sunset (around 5:30pm) today.
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There are lots of low branches, which is great for close-ups.

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Whitcomb are in full bloom everywhere in the Vancouver area.

Find them now on the VCBF Neighborhood map.

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Cherry Scouts Photos

Early spring cherry blossoms in Vancouver

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These are the three cultivars of cherry trees that are currently blooming in Vancouver. If you see something else that is blooming: they are not cherry blossoms, but most likely plum blossoms. It’s important for cherry scouts to learn the difference between cherry blossoms and plum blossoms.

 

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Accolade cherry blossoms at MacLean/Broadway

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Accolade cherry blossoms are starting to bloom.  Don’t miss the opportunity to photograph the buds (bright pink) and the newly open flower.

Check out the VCBF neighborhood map to find Accolade cherry trees in your area.

All photos by Jessica Tremblay shot today at MacLean/Broadway.

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Cherry Scouts Photos

Whitcomb cherry tree Holdom/Buchanan

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Cherry blossom season has begun!   Whitcomb cherry trees started blooming early in Vancouver thanks to a warm winter.

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I went to investigate a pink blooming tree located at 1910 Holdom (corner Buchanan) in Burnaby, 4 minutes from the Holdom skytrain station.

As I approached the tree, I noticed the horizontal bars (called lenticels) on the trunk, which was one clue that this was indeed a cherry tree and not a plum tree  (the trunk of plum trees is darker and doesn’t have horizontal bars).

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The Whitcomb cherry blossoms are dark pink.  They just started to open!

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With a good zoom, you’ll be able to take nice shots.

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Unfortunately, there’s an electrical pole next to the tree, which means  electric wires overhead.

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There are plenty of buds. This tree will be blooming for at least another week.

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The branch is not even full. You can expect more blossoms.

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It’s nice to see some sunshine in Vancouver.

Check out the Whitcomb cherry trees in your area  using the VCBF Neighborhood map.

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Cherry Scouts Photos

Autumnalis Rosea on Georgia (corner Willingdon) in Burnaby

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You’ll find over a dozen Autumnalis Rosea cherry trees blooming now on Georgia street. The trees are spread, in groups of two or three, over five blocks (between Willingdon and MacDonald).

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Autumnalis Rosea are  “winter cherries”. They start blooming in December and last until February-March.

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The Autumnalis Rosea blossoms are  small and sparse on the branches. Not as spectacular as our spring cherries, but still worth a visit.

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With a zoom, you’ll be able to isolate the flowers and get a good close-up.

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February is usually the peak blooming period for Autumnalis Rosea, so don’t miss them.

Check the VCBF Neighborhood maps to locate autumnalis rosea in your area.

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I walked on Georgia all the way down to MacDonald. When I turned to walk back towards Willingdon, I noticed the moon peaking between cherry branches.  (This was taken January 28, 2015. If you hurry, you might be able to take the same shot).

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The blossoms are falling on the pavement.

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Take a moment to photograph the fallen petals or blossoms at your feet: they make good pictures too!

 

Autumnalis Rosea photos taken by Jessica Tremblay on January 28, 2015 on Georgia street (five blocks between Willingdon and MacDonals)

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Cherry Scouts Photos

Whitcomb cherry at Government House in Victoria, BC

 

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Photo credit: Lotus Johnson, [email protected] Rights Reserved.

Lotus Johnson has posted a few photos of a ‘Whitcomb’ cherry at Government House in Victoria, in a protected location, one-quarter in bloom.

Usually ‘Whitcomb’ do a little preview in January, with a few branches showing open flowers. This is one of her photos on flickr.

Victoria often sees cherry blossoms a little bit earlier than Vancouver because of a warmer climate.

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Cherry Scouts Photos

Pandora cherry trees at Mt. Pleasant Park

After hearing that Pandora cherry trees were blooming in Vancouver, I used the neighborhood maps to find a location and decided to go to Mt. Pleasant Park.

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At Mount Pleasant Park (Ontario, between 15th and 16th), I found three Pandora cherry trees. With the Northshore mountains in the background, it’s a beautiful location to take pictures.

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At first glance, this Pandora cherry tree (a modern hybrid) may look like Akebono. You’ll have to get closer to see the main difference…

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The main characteristic of the Pandora cherry blossom is that the petals are deeper pink at the end. Can you see in this picture how the tips are darker pink?

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The tree on 15th and Ontario has low branches, so you’ll be able to take shots like this in macro (without using a zoom).

It’s important to identify the Pandora cherry trees early (thanks to the darker pink at the end of the petals), because the flowers will usually turn white before falling…

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Another main characteristic of the Pandora is that (most) blossoms fall intact!

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On some of the fallen flowers, you’ll still be able to see the darker pink at the tip of the petals. But most flowers will be completely white when they fall.

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There were lots of flowers under the tree.

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You’ll notice something odd about these Pandora cherry trees: you can’t see the horizontal bars (lenticels) on the bark. Judging by the bark, you might think it’s a plum tree and not a cherry tree, but this tree is definitely a Pandora cherry tree.

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To recap the characteristics of Pandora cherry trees:

  • tips of petals are darker pink
  • flowers turn white (mostly) before falling
  • flowers fall (mostly) intact

Check out the Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver for more information about the 54 varieties of cherry trees in Vancouver and to identify them.

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Is this a good spot for Hanami picnic?  Absolutely! Lots of green grass, park benches, lots of trees, fresh air, and stunning view of the Northshore Mountains. This location is a ten out of ten! Visit in the next week and bring your picnic!

 

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Cherry Scouts Photos

Plum trees versus cherry trees: how to tell the difference and identify them

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At the end of March, when you see rows of pink trees, in Vancouver  don’t be too quick to yell “Cherry blossoms!” These trees might be plum trees – not cherry trees!  To find out, you’ll have to get closer.

There are 12,000 plum blossoms in Vancouver.  Plum trees are beautiful, but since the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival aims at celebrating the beauty of cherry blossoms – not plum blossoms – we prepared this guide to help you to know the difference between plum blossoms and cherry blossoms.

The main characteristics of plum blossoms are:

  • fragrant (they smell good)
  • no split at the end of petals
  • dark trunk with no horizontal lines

Check this out:

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The smell of plum blossoms: Plum blossoms are very fragrant. At this distance, if your tree smells good and “flowery”, it’s probably a plum tree.

The smell of cherry blossoms: The early cherry blossoms are not fragrant. They don’t smell good or “flowery”. Their smell is very faint (almost non-existent), except for some rare cultivars in mid-season that can be very fragrant.

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Petals of plum blossoms: Plum petals are oval. There is no split at the end of the petals.

Petals of cherry blossoms: Cherry blossoms have a small split at the end of each petal.

 

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Bark on plum trees: The bark of plum trees is dark and does not have horizontal bars.

Bark on cherry trees: the bark of cherry trees is light grey and has horizontal lines called “Lenticels”.

 

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Buds of plum blossoms: The plum buds are round and there is only one blossom coming out of each bud. They stick straight out from the branches on a short thin stem.

Buds of cherry blossoms: Cherry buds are oval. There is more than one blossom coming out of the bud (in this picture, six flowers are coming out of the bud.)

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Leaves of plum: If the leaves are purple, then it’s definitely a plum tree.   Plums leave come out with the flowers and unroll from a cigar shape.

Leaves of cherry: The leaves of cherry trees are green (or copper) and, for the early cherries, come out usually after the flowers. Cherry leaves unfold like a billfold opening.

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Grafts: On plum trees, the grafts are placed on the branches. They grow vertically on the branches. These grafts will be more visible in early spring before the flowers bloom.

Grafts: On cherry trees, the graft is placed on top of the trunk so the tree looks “stompy”.

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The shape of plum: mostly round or oval.

The shape of cherry trees: umbrella shape (the branches are spreading, so the top is wide than the bottom).

 

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Colour: plum blossoms can be pink (with purple leaves) or white (with green leaves)

Colour: cherry blossoms can be dark pink, light pink, white, yellowish. The leaves are copper or green and come out usually after the flowers.

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Plum characteristics: When all the plum blossoms are open, you can’t see the buds – and it’s hard to see the grafts – so you’ll have to rely on the plum blossoms main characteristics:

  • fragrant (smell “flowery”)
  • no split at the end of the petals
  • dark trunk (with no horizontal lines)

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Cherry characteristics: There are over 54 varieties of cherry blossoms but they all share the same characteristics:

  • a split at the end of each petal
  • the light-grey trunk has horizontal bars

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Think you got it? Take the test!

 Cherry or plum blossoms?

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Answer: plum.

Purple leaves and no split at the end of the petals.

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Plum blossoms

Answer: plum.

No split at the end of petals. One flower coming out of the bud. Smells “flowery”.

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YoshinoHandfromMikebyMY

Answer: cherry.

Split at the end of the petals.

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Akebono cherry blossom at Burrard skytrain station.

Answer: cherry.

Horizontal lines on the bark.

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You might also like:

Cherry versus plum blossoms: What’s the difference (March 28, 2013)

How to tell the difference between cherry trees and plum trees (infographic)

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To learn how to identify 54 varieties of cherry blossoms, buy Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver, by Douglas Justice. Happy cherry blossom viewing!