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Cherry Blossom Viewing Tip: Enjoy Cherry Trees in your Neighbourhood

Cherry blossom season has officially started in Vancouver. Akebono are now in full bloom, along with Pandora, Beni-shidare, Afterglow, and much more.

We understand it could be tempting to go to your favourite cherry blossom viewing spot. However, because of COVID-19 and the need to respect physical distancing and avoid gathering, it would be wise to consider, instead, enjoying a walk under cherry trees in your own neighbourhood.

With 40,000 cherry trees in the city, there’s plenty to see.

Here’s what I saw during a neighbourhood walk in Burnaby.

Akebono cherry trees at Cliff (corner Curtis):

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A small Beni-shidare that hasn’t been added to the VCBF map yet.

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Afterglow cherry trees at Cliff and Curtis.  The bright pink flowers are magnificent!

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There are 40,000 cherry trees planted in residential streets.  We’re so lucky to have access to these trees.

Have a look at the VCBF neigjbourhood maps to find trees near you.

Enjoy cherry trees in your neighbourhood. Stay safe and maintain physical distancing.

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Cherry tree talk and walk at VanDusen

Weedping cherry tree Higan at Van Dusen Garden April 7 2013

On April 7 2013, I joined the cherry talk and walk at the VanDusen botanical garden. Our guide Anne Eng has been a cherry scout for many years and is also a volunteer at the garden.

First, we visited the beni shidare trees on the Great Lawn.

Weedping cherry tree Higan at Van Dusen Garden April 7 2013

This is the view of fifteen hundred years” said Anne.  In Japan, cherry trees were growing on hillsides. People thought they were beautiful so  they uprooted the trees and brought them down closer to civilization. The VanDusen garden replicated the original location by planting the cherry trees on a hill.

Weedping cherry tree Higan at Van Dusen Garden April 7 2013

The garden has several weeping higan cherry trees which are known as beni shidare (beni means “pink”, and shidare means “weeping”).

Weedping cherry tree Higan at Van Dusen Garden April 7 2013

Did you know? Cherry trees (prunus) are members of the rose family.

Bark of a Japanese flowering cherry tree

There are two major characteristics of cherry trees:

1)     Lenticels ( “Cherry bars, stop the car!”)

If you are not sure if the trees blooming on your street are plum or cherry trees, look at the trunk.  Cherry trees have horizontal lines on the bark called “lenticels”.  (Lenticels allow gas exchange between the air and the internal tissues).

All cherry trees have lenticels“, said Anne, “but not all trees with lenticels are cherry trees.”

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2)      Cherry blossoms grow in clusters called “umbels”. An umbel is when more than one flower comes out of the bud and each flower is at the end of a long stalk (like in this picture).

Great White Cherry at Van Dusen Botanical Garden April 7 2013

I was very impressed by the Great White Cherry, or prunus “Taihaku” (seen above):

1)      it has big