Yesterday’s news – ‘Whitcomb’ and ‘Okame’ comparison

March 16, 2023. There will soon be two cherry cultivars in bloom with single (5-petalled) pink flowers. ‘Whitcomb’ have been featured here already – they have been open in the West End since the third week of February, and they are about to open very soon in the rest of the area. These flowers open dark pink, then fade to almost white. The petal shape is round enough that the petals overlap. Since it’s usually still cold when they open in February or March, these trees have flowers until almost April, often with a mix of pale and dark flowers.

Here are ‘Okame’, not nearly as commonly planted in this area. Shirley Willard photographed these starting to open in Sechelt. These are smaller flowers than on ‘Whitcomb’ and the petals are more narrow – you can see that they do not overlap. The sepals (on the back of the flowers) are often pink.

Cherry Scouts Photos

Okame cherry trees outside UBC Asian Centre

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At UBC, there are four Okame cherry trees blooming: two outside the Asian Centre and two across the street, right outside the Parkade.

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You can recognize Okame cherry blossoms by the long reddish calyx-tube that holds the petals together.

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Because the calyx-tube is almost red, Okame are recognizable by the red “star shape” in the centre of the flowers.

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The leaves grow bronze to reddish green.

Okame are rare in Vancouver because they are prone to diseases.

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The Okame cherry petals are falling fast. You should visit this location soon.


This week is your last chance to see Okame cherry trees: most Okame cherry trees have already finished blooming, but because this Okame Cherry tree at UBC is in the shade, you’ll have one more week to enjoy it.

Learn more about Okame cherry tree in this forum post about Okame cherry tree

Want to see more pics? Here’s another Okame tree in Burnaby

All photos Jessica Tremblay