Cherry Scouts Photos

Whitcomb Cherry Trees Identification Guide (Infographic)

A helpful guide to identify Whitcomb cherry trees in Vancouver made into an infographic by cherry scout Jessica Tremblay.

The information comes from Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver, by Douglas Justice. Buy a copy to learn more about 54 cultivars of cherry trees in Vancouver and get ready for an awesome cherry blossom viewing season!

You might also like: How to tell the difference between cherry trees and plum trees (infographic)


Stellata at Queen Elizabeth Park


Star cherry blossoms (“Stellata”) are open near the duck pond at Queen Elizabeth park.


You can recognize Stellata cherry blossoms by the petals that are rolling to form soft points (just like a star!)


Because the petals are rolling in,  the blossoms have a triangular shape when viewed from the side.  Be careful not to mistake them for Whitcomb or Okame… which both come earlier in the season).


The star cherry is a little bit off the path and there are only two branches blooming, so it would be easy to miss.  To find the star cherry, follow these instructions:

  • go around the duck pond
  • walk past the 4 white Uminko cherry trees
  • continue walking until you reach the three small yae-beni-shidare (weeping cherry trees)
  • turn left and walk about 20 meters. The star cherry is in the corner, in the shade, next to the path.


If you’ve never seen a stellata, visit this location in the next week.

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To learn more about the star cherry (and 53 other varieties of cherry trees in Vancouver), check out Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver.


Akebono versus Somei-Yoshino: what’s the difference?

Akebono cherry blossom - petaloid (incomplete petal)

In early spring, the Akebono and the Somei-Yoshino cherry trees are flowering at the same time in Vancouver and they look very similar, so how can you tell them apart?

Somei-Yoshino is the parent of Akebono: the blossoms are a bit whiter than Akebono and the tree has curved branches, while Akebono has stiff straight branches. However, there’s an easier way to tell the difference. Look at this Akebono blossom closely:

Akebono cherry blossom - petaloid (incomplete petal)

The most distinctive characteristic of Akebono is that some blossoms will have a petaloid (an additional incomplete petal). This unformed petal – a stamen that mutated – will occur every 10th or 15th flower.

If you’re pretty sure the tree you’re looking at is either Somei-yoshino or Akebono, and you find a petaloid, then you know the cherry tree is an Akebono. However, the petaloid is usually one of the first petal to fall, so it’s important to make your identification early. Otherwise, you might falsely identify an Akebono for a Somei-Yoshino. (At the Blossom Biology workshop the Akebono had shed its petaloid and looked almost identical to the Somei-Yoshino).

Thanks to Douglas Justice for all the information he provided during the cherry blossom biology workshop at VanDusen garden.