Films Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

Bike Dance in Blossoms

I love this creative stop-motion video “Bike Dance in Blossoms” created by B:C:Clettes during Bike the Blossoms in 2012.

Photos Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

Blossom Biology workshop


The Blossom Biology workshop took place at the VanDusen Botanical Garden classroom in the evening of April 11, 2013.

Douglas Justice, a technical advisor for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, came in with a bucket full of cherry blossoms that he had collected from the garden!

He started the session with a presentation during which we learnt about:

  1. Resources
  2. Cherry look-alike
  3. Photographing cultivars for ID purposes
  4. How to use the dichotomus key
  5. Important identification features
  6. Common cultivars

Blossom Biology with Justice Douglas (April 11, 2013)

Then, he laid out the various cultivars of cherry blossoms on the table and we got to see them up close and identify them.

Blossom Biology with Justice Douglas (April 11, 2013)

I’ve learnt a lot about cherry trees. Did you know that 80% of cherry trees are grafted? It’s a nursery practice to take a seedling cherry and to graft it to a stomp (from which many branches will grow). This explains the odd appearance of the trunk.

Blossom Biology with Justice Douglas (April 11, 2013)

Are you able to identify the different types of cherry blossoms in that bucket?

  • Tai Haku, aka Great White Cherry (top right, green leaves and big white flowers… up to 5 cm large!)
  • Beni-shidare, aka weeping cherry (at the very top, teeny tiny pink flowers, they’re the most common in the garden)
  • Yae-beni-shidare, aka double weeping cherry  (left side, branch of dark pink blossoms drooping)
  • Akebono
  • Japanese flowering cherries
  • Kiku-shidare-zakura, aka chrysanthemum cherry
  • and many more.

There are 35 cherries in the book Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver but Douglas Justice says they’ve identified 20 more cultivars since.  Aren’t we lucky to have so many cherry trees in Vancouver?

Tip: For more information about cherry tree identification and other things we’ve learnt at the workshop, type “Blossom Biology” in the search box on the left to view other posts on the subject.


Cherry versus Plum Blossoms: What’s the Difference?

In Vancouver, it’s that time of the year when plum blossoms and cherry blossoms are blooming at the same time.  How can you tell the difference between cherry and plum blossoms? Here are a few pointers:

Cherry tree

Cherry blossom

Cherry blossoms have a small split at the end of each petals.

Bark on the trunk of a cherry tree

The bark of the cherry tree often have small horizontal lines on it.

Akebono cherry bud at Burrard skytrain station.

More than one cherry will come out of a cherry bud.

Cherry blossoms with green leaves

The leaves of cherry trees are green and unfolding.

Plum blossoms

Plum blossom

Plum blossoms don’t have any split at the end of the petals.

Plum blossom

There is only one plum blossom coming out of the bud.


Plum blossoms have small purple leaves that are unrolling.

(Although some varieties of white plum blossoms will have small green leaves).

Plum blossoms

Plum blossoms have a very fragrant smell (they smell “flowery”).

Bark on plum tree

The bark on a plum tree is darker and does not have distinctive horizontal line on it.

Think you got it? Take the test!

Cherry or plum blossoms?


Answer: plum.

(No split at the end of the petals).


Answer: cherry.

Split at the end of the petals.


Answer: plum.

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

Akebono cherry blossom at Burrard skytrain station.

Answer: cherry.

Horizontal lines on the bark.

Want to learn more? Become a cherry scout.

You might also like: How to tell the difference between cherry trees and plum trees (infographic)  and Plum trees versus cherry trees: how to tell the difference and identify them


Accolade on Broadway (near McLean)

Accolade Broadway McLean by JT March 19 2013

It’s that time of the year when suddenly there seems to be Accolade cherry trees blooming everywhere, so make sure to carry your camera with you at all times!

Accolade Broadway McLean by JT March 19 2013

During a short ten minute walk to the Broadway/Commercial skytrain station, I came across this Accolade cherry tree on Broadway (between McLean and Clark) in Vancouver.

Accolade Broadway McLean by JT March 19 2013

The tree doesn’t have much blossoms, and the branches are thin and climbing towards an apartment building, so it’s not a great photography spot, but…

Accolade Broadway McLean by JT March 19 2013

… I find that sometimes it’s with the oddest tree that you get the best cherry blossom pictures.


Crazy for cherry blossoms!

Accolade cherry blossom on Richards (corner Robson) in Vancouver.

After five years of cherry blossom viewing in Vancouver, I’ve learned two things:

  1. cherry blossoms don’t last
  2. sunny days are rare.

So if you’re lucky enough to have both sunshine AND cherry blossoms, you just have to pick up your camera and go because it’s a scientific fact that cherry blossoms won’t wait for you and the next day will (probably) be overcast.

Yesterday I picked up my camera to visit the Accolade cherry tree on Richards (corner Robson) for the third time.  This Accolade tree (which is blooming exceptionally early)  is doing well.

Accolade cherry tree on Richards (corner Robson) in Vancouver.

As some petals fall gently with the breeze, new blossoms are opening.  It is not fully bloomed yet.

Accolade cherry blossom on Richards (corner Robson) in Vancouver.

The cherry tree is surrounded by tall buildings in Downtown Vancouver so the tree will be in the shade for most of the day. The best time to go is between 3.00-4.00 when the sun shines directly on the tree from down the street. (All these pictures were taken between 3.15-3.30pm.)

Accolade cherry blossoms on Richards (corner Robson) in Vancouver.

As I was taking picture, a passerby shouted: “YEAH! SPRING!”

Accolade cherry tree on Richards (corner Robson) in Vancouver.

So get out there Vancouver and say hello to spring! (We’re lucky to have cherry blossom blooming so early this season!)


Autumnalis Rosea (Lost Lagoon)

Wendy Cutler intrigued me with the photo of an Autumnalis Rosea (a winter blooming cherry tree) that she shared with us on January 13.  The picture showed a small tree with tiny pink blossoms near the completely frozen lagoon. Brrr!

I’ve never seen an Autumnalis Rosea cherry tree, so I decided to go take a look today.

Autumnalis Rosea, may not be as spectacular as other cultivars –  the petals look a bit messy, often appearing twisted, and the branches are twiggy and untidy – but I found them really charming and worth a visit.

Location: West End/Stanley Park – Lost Lagoon near daycare, 3 trees.

Here are some pictures taken today:


Autumnalis Rosea cherry tree at Lost Lagoon in Vanoucver BC on Feb 10 2013 taken by JT

Autumnalis Rosea cherry tree at Lost Lagoon in Vanoucver BC on Feb 10 2013 taken by JT


Accolade on Richards (corner Robson)

Today I took advantage of the sunny weather to check up again on Vancouver’s first blooming Accolade cherry tree on Richards street (corner Robson), right across the coffee shop.

There are lots more blossoms than when I first reported on the tree on January 21 2013.

I was hoping this tree would mean an early cherry blossom season. However, besides a couple of Autumnalis Rosea blooming near Lost Lagoon, I haven’t seen much blossoms in the city yet. This Accolade was exceptionally early and is giving us a nice taste of spring.

Accolades cherry tree on Richard (corner Robson) on Feb 10 2013 in Vancouver, B.C.

Accolades on Richard (corner Robson) on Feb 10 2013