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.


Whitcomb Cherry Blossoms

Whitcomb cherry blossoms are already open in Vancouver, but just bloomed in Burnaby at Ayshire/Arvine Crescent.

The 17 Whitcomb cherry trees peaked about 5 days ago. Today was a great day to be showered with blossoms (quite windy).

This street on a hill offers a great view of Metrotown highrises.

Hummingbirds frequently visit the blossoms. You just gotta hope they stand still for a minute so you can get the shot.

Photo: Jessica Tremblay.
Photo: Jessica Tremblay.
Photo: Jessica Tremblay.
Photo: Jessica Tremblay.
Photo: Jessica Tremblay.
Photo: Jessica Tremblay.
Photo: Jessica Tremblay.


Another beautiful day of cherry blossom viewing

After a first day of teleworking, I reward myself with one hour of cherry blossom viewing.

At this time, the instructions from the city of Vancouver regarding the control of COVID-19 say you’re allowed to go outside as long as you maintain social distancing and don’t congregate in groups.  This means no cherry blossom picnics, but  a quick walk by yourself in the neighbourhood is fine.

The Whitcomb cherry trees at Ayshire and Aubrey are fully bloomed. The flowers are beautiful. They’re buzzing with bees! Petals haven’t started to fall yet.

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This Accolade tree at Halifax and Kensington might be missing a branch or two, but the blossoms are splendid! Accolade are only about 20-30% bloomed in Burnaby, so you have another 7-10 days to visit.

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The Okame cherry tree at Charles and Fell might be slightly past its prime — lots of tiny petals on the ground, and most remaining blossoms have missing petals — but it’s such a rare tree that it’s worth a trip.  Visit within 5 days.

By the way, Okame have some of the smallest petals I’ve ever seen on the ground. So cute!

Tip: Visit in the morning or early afternoon. The sun set behind the house, which blocks the light. These pics were taken about 5 pm and there was only one ray of sunshine at the top of the canopy.

Also make sure to take a photo of the long calyx (the back of the flower), since that’s what this flower is famous for.

20200319_charlesfell_okame_tremblay_IMG_4494 20200319_charlesfell_okame_tremblay_IMG_4477 Okame cherry petals cover the sidewalk at Charles and Fell in Burnaby. 20200319_charlesfell_okame_tremblay_IMG_4491

I hope you’re taking care of yourself in these difficult times.If you are feeling stressed, go out and visit a cherry tree in your neighbourhood. (You can use the VCBF Neighbourhood map to find the trees blooming now in your area). And pleasee maintain social distancing.

Cherry Scouts Photos

A full day of cherry blossom viewing in Vancouver

First, I visit the Accolade cherry trees at Chilco Park (Chilco/Comox). “Hey, the cherry blossoms are out!” said a man cycling by.

Tip: The Accolade blossoms are 70% in bloom. Visit this location within 10 days to enjoy peak blossom.


Then, I check on the Akebono cherry trees at Burrard skytrain station.  Mostly buds, but the trees at the front (which are exposed to the sun) already have a few flowers.

Tip: It looks like the cherry blossoms will be fully open in 10 days. Visit around March 25 to experience peak bloom.


Whitcombs cherry blossoms at Ayshire and Aubrey in Burnaby are finally open. The trees are bloomed at 70%.

Tip: Visit within 7 days to catch peak bloom and 10-15 days to be showered in petals.


Wow! That was an exciting day of cherry scouting!  At night, I sort through my photos. The next day, I post my findings on the UBC botanical garden forum.

Tip: Did you know you can see what’s blooming in your neighbourhood by visiting the UBC botanical garden forum? Click on your neighborhood and navigate to the last page to see what was posted recently.

Additional tip: Create a login and you’ll be able to subscribe to a thread to receive news of blooming trees in your neighbourhood.

If you’d like to learn how to identify cherry trees, visit the VCBF cherry scout page.


Our five favourite spots to see Whitcomb cherry trees

Whitcomb cherry trees are blooming in the city. At Nicola Park the trees are fully bloomed while in other areas the Whitcomb have just started to show bright pink blossoms. Visit these five locations in the next week or two to see peak bloom.

1. Nicola Park (corner Pendrell, Downtown)

Whitcomb cherry trees at Nicola Park
Whitcomb cherry trees at Nicola Park (February 15, 2020).

2- Denman (Seawall, Stanley Park)

Whitcomb cherry tree on the seawall at the end of Denman street.
Whitcomb cherry tree on the seawall at the end of Denman street (February 29, 2020).

3. Nicola/Beach (Downtown)

Whitcomb cherry tree at Nicola and Beach.
Whitcomb cherry tree at Nicola and Beach (February 15, 2020).

4. Aubrey/Ayshire (Burnaby)

Whitcomb cherry trees at Aubrey and Ayshire in Burnaby.
Whitcomb cherry trees at Aubrey and Ayshire in Burnaby (February 29, 2020).

5-McSpaden Park

Whitcomb cherry trees at McSpaden Park
Whitcomb cherry trees at McSpaden Park (March 3, 2020)


Happy cherry blossom viewing!

Whitcomb cherry blossoms on the seawall at the end of Denman street in Vancouver.
Whitcomb cherry blossoms on the seawall at the end of Denman street in Vancouver (February 29, 2020).


Cherry Scouts Photos

Playtime under Whitcomb cherry trees

Whitcomb cherry blossoms at McSpaden Park Vancouver Whitcomb cherry blossoms at McSpaden Park Vancouver

McSpaden Park is a great destination if you want to see Whitcomb cherry trees this week. You’ll find about ten trees planted along Victoria Drive. Part of the canopy hangs over the fence, offering a nice picnic spot.

Besides cherry blossom viewing, there are also plenty of options for outdoor sports and a playground for the little ones.  When I arrived on a cloudy Saturday morning, the crows were occupying the soccer field, the tennis courts were busy, and a dog walker was sitting on a park bench enjoying the view.

Whitcomb cherry blossoms at McSpaden Park Vancouver Whitcomb cherry blossoms at McSpaden Park Vancouver

Among the fallen flowers, I found a Whitcomb blossom with a petaloid. A petaloid is a small, unformed, sixth petal occasionally found on young flowers (such as Akebono). The petaloid usually falls off at an early stage, so you rarely see them. It was the first time I saw a petaloid on a Whitcomb flower.  It was quite exciting… like finding a four-leaf clover.

Petaloid on a whitcomb cherry blossom

The cherry petals will start falling soon, so visit your local Whitcomb cherry trees this week. Find them on the neighbourhood map.

Next: it’s almost time to see Accolade and Akebono flowers, so keep checking the Blog and Blooming Now page for more news. And don’t miss our Cherry Jam downtown concert under the beautiful canopy of Akebono trees at Burrard skytrain station on April 4nd.

Cherry Scouts Photos

Early Bloomers

Vancouver Whitcomb cherry trees at Nicola park

“The three straggly ‘Whitcomb’ at Nicola Mini-Park are also showing signs of pink. ” – (Willard)

When this posting went up on the VCBF Neighbourhood Blogs forum on January 12, I felt a shiver of excitement down my spine: “Cherry blossom season has begun!”

The Whitcomb cherry trees at Nicola Park are one of the first cherry trees to bloom in Vancouver. When their tiny, deep pink cherry blossoms are open, it officially marks the start of our “pink wave” here in Vancouver (a pink wave that will reach its peak during the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival in April).


Whitcomb cherry blossoms are blooming mid-February to mid-March.  They purple pink flowers are small and photogenic.  Use the Neighbourhood Maps to locate a Whitcomb tree near you, grab your camera, and rejoice: Vancouver cherry blossom viewing has begun!

[Photos: Jessica Tremblay]


Whitcomb peaking now at Ayshire Drive

Whitcomb cherry trees may be done in the West-End, but they are in full bloom everywhere else, including at Ayshire Drive in Burnaby.



Deep pink, Whitcomb cherry blossoms are stunning on a sunny day, especially with a blue sky in the background. The bees are happy!


Visit this location within seven days to capture the flowers at their best, or seven to ten days to be showered with petals.



Check the VCBF neighborhoud map to find Whitcomb cherry trees near you.

You might also like: pictures of this location in March 2016 and February 2016.

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)

Cherry Scouts Photos

Whitcomb cherry trees at Nelson and Bute

This Whitcomb cherry tree at the corner of Nelson and Bute seems to be overtaken by vines.


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From the park across the street, you can take nice photos of the blossoms with apartment buildings in the background.

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It’s nice to see Whitcomb cherry trees are finally starting to bloom after a pretty harsh winter in Vancouver (lots of snow!) Use the VCBF neighbourhood map to find Whitcomb cherry trees in Vancouver. Happy cherry blossom viewing!