Japanese cherry blossoms

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Japanese cherry blossoms
Japanese cherry (Prunus serrulata)

Japanese cherry ( Prunus serrulata )

Order : Rose-like (rosales)
Family : Rose family (Rosaceae)
Subfamily : Spiraeoideae
Tribe : Stone fruit family (Amygdaleae)
Genre : Prunus
Type : Japanese cherry blossoms
Scientific name
Prunus serrulata

The Japanese flowering cherry ( Prunus serrulata ), also known as the oriental cherry , the East Asian cherry or the guard cherry , is a type of plant from the genus Prunus in the rose family (Rosaceae). The botanical species epithet serrulata comes from Latin and means “finely sawn”, ie with small saw teeth. The varieties of this flowering cherry are used as ornamental plants in avenues, parks and gardens.


Fall leaves

Vegetative characteristics

The Japanese flowering cherry grows as a deciduous tree and reaches heights of 3 to 8 meters. The bark is grayish-brown to grayish-black. The bark of young twigs is bare and grayish-white or brown in color. The winter buds are egg-shaped and hairless.

The alternate leaves arranged on the branches are divided into a petiole and a leaf blade . The 1–1.5 cm long, hairless, petiole has one to three rounded nectar glands at its upper end. The simple leaf blade is 5–9 cm long and 2.5–5 cm wide ovate-elliptical to obovate-elliptical and pointed at the upper end. The base of the leaf blade is rounded. The leaf margin is serrated to a point or double serrated, each with a tiny gland on the tips. The upper side of the leaf is glabrous or sparsely hairy and dark green and the lighter green underside of the leaf is glabrous, sparsely hairy or hairy. There are six to eight side nerves on each side of the major nerves. The autumn color of the leaves is intense red and yellow. The two linear stipules are 5–8 mm long with glandular fringed margins.

Generative characteristics

On a 5–10 mm long, bare inflorescence stem, a small, umbrella-cluster-racemose or almost dold -like inflorescence is formed, which contains only two to three flowers. This has 8 × 4 mm small, obverse-shaped, elongated bud scales at the base that are brownish-red. The brown to greenish-brown colored bracts are 5–8 mm × 2.5–4 mm in size with glandular serrated edges. The flowers appear from April to May. The bald, sparsely hairy or downy hairy flower stalk is 1.5–2.5 cm long.

The hermaphroditic, radial symmetry , five-fold flower has a double perianth . The flower cup (hypanthium) is tubular and about 5–6 mm × 2–3 mm in size. The five entire, triangular-lanceolate sepals are about 5 mm long. The five free petals , white in wild forms or rarely pink, in cultivated forms differently pink in color, are entire and obovate. There are about 38 stamens . The stylus is bare.

The edible stone fruits are spherical to egg-shaped and have a diameter of 8-10 mm. The fruits ripen from about May to July and then turn purple-black.

Chromosome number

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 16.

regional customs

Carpet of flowers under the tree

In the first warmer days of April, the Japanese flowering cherry begins to bloom profusely and only unfolds its splendor for a few days. The flowering period ends at the beginning of May and the flowers fall to the ground. The Japanese flowering cherry is the focus of general attention for a few days in the Japanese custom of Hanami (literally: "Seeing blossoms"). The media report in detail about the cherry blossom's path towards northern Japan. As briefly as the Japanese cherry blossoms, so numerous are its blossoms, which cover the ground around the cherry trees and make the branches bend.

The flowering cherry is also closely interwoven with the culture of Japan. The fading of the flowers at their peak was compared with young warriors or samurai.

For the Japanese, the cherry blossom (Japanese sakura ) has been the epitome of all blossoms for centuries. The delicacy and the simple scent of the flowers symbolize purity and simplicity - traditional values ​​of Japanese culture.


The Japanese flowering cherry is native to Korea , Japan and the Chinese provinces of Anhui, Guizhou, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Zhejiang. It is possible that it was not originally native to Japan, but was introduced there from China. Their varieties are cultivated in all temperate areas, for example in Europe and North America.

Prunus serrulata var. Spontanea


A distinction is made between the following varieties:

  • Prunus serrulata var. Albida ( Makino ) Makino
  • Prunus serrulata var. Antiqua (Miyoshi) Makino
  • Prunus serrulata var. Compta (Koidz.) Nakai
  • Prunus serrulata var. Densiflora (Koehne) Uyeki
  • Prunus serrulata var. Glabra (Makino) Nakai
  • Prunus serrulata var. Hortensis Makino
  • Prunus serrulata var. Hupehensis (Ingram) Ingram
  • Prunus serrulata var. Intermedia Nakai
  • Prunus serrulata var. Lannesiana (Carrière) Makino : It is native to Japan, but is widely cultivated.
  • Prunus serrulata var. Leveilleana ( Koehne ) Nakai ex T. Mori
  • Prunus serrulata var. Pendula Bean
  • Prunus serrulata var. Plenapendula Miyoshi
  • Prunus serrulata var. Praecox (Makino) Makino
  • Prunus serrulata var. Pubescens (Makino) E. H. Wilson
  • Prunus serrulata var. Quelpaertensis (Nakai) Uyeki
  • Prunus serrulata var. Sachalinensis (F. Schmidt) E. H. Wilson (Syn .: Prunus sargentii Rehder )
  • Prunus serrulata var. Semiplena Nakai ex T. Mori
  • Prunus serrulata Lindl. var. serrulata
  • Prunus serrulata var. Sieboldii (Verl.) Makino
  • Prunus serrulata var. Sontagiae (Koehne) Nakai
  • Prunus serrulata var. Spontanea (Maxim.) Makino (Syn .: Prunus jamasakura Siebold ex Koidz. )
  • Prunus serrulata var. Tokugawana Makino
  • Prunus serrulata var. Ungeri Sprenger
  • Prunus serrulata var. verecunda (Koidz.) Nakai (Syn .: Prunus verecunda (Koidz.) Koehne )

There are also many cultivated forms that vary in size, shape and color of the leaves and flowers:

  • 'Amanogawa' (also: column cherry ): This shape forms a tightly columnar crown and is about six meters high. The leaf shoots are yellow-brown. The flowers are light pink and single to semi-double. These are often planted in gardens.
  • 'Hokusai': This form, introduced to Europe in 1866, has a broad, spreading habit; it is up to six meters high and ten meters wide. The leaf shoots are brown to bronze in color. The leaves are dark green and somewhat leathery; the autumn color is orange-red to salmon-colored. The 4–5 cm wide flowers are light pink and semi-double. The flower has seven to twelve petals and is flat.
  • 'Ichiyo': This shape grows up to seven meters high, sometimes even higher. The leaf shoots are bronze-green. The flowers are light pink with petals arranged in two layers; the edge of the petals is fringed. The flowers sit in hanging clusters of three to four flowers.
  • 'Kanzan': This form is often found under the (false) name 'Hisakura' in the gardening trade. This is the most popular variety in Europe; in Japan, however, it is less well known. It is up to twelve meters high; the treetop is almost inverted-conical. The leaf shoots are copper brown. The leaves are slightly blue-green on the underside and a little reddish on the upper side. The flowers are in bunches of two to five. The double flowers are dark pink and large; the usually one or two leaf-like green carpels are conspicuous .
  • 'Kiku-Shidare-Sakura': This form is more in culture under the name of 'Shidare-Sakura'. It may have originated in China while most of the other older forms originated in Japan. It has heavily hanging branches and is therefore usually grafted with high stems. The flowers are dark pink and very double. The petals are very narrow.
  • 'Shimidsu-Sakura': This form is also called 'Longipes' or 'Oku-Miyaku'. She became known in Europe after 1900. It is a popular variety because of its low stature (up to about three meters) and the almost hemispherical crown and large flowers. The autumn color of the leaves is golden yellow. The flower buds are pinkish-white, but the blossoming flowers are pure white. The flowers are 5–6 cm wide with fringed petals on the edge and are in hanging clusters of three to six flowers. The flowering time is very late compared to the other varieties (May to June).
  • 'Shirofugen': This form, also called 'Albo-Rosea', has been known in Europe since around 1900. It is more common in larger parks. It is a strong-growing tree up to nine meters high. The leaf shoots are copper brown. The leaves are very large with up to 16 × 8 cm. It is a very late strain in terms of flowering time. The flower buds are pink; the flowers are initially light pink, but quickly turn white; as they bloom, they turn pink again. The flowers are double.
  • 'Shirotae': This variety is also called 'Mount Fuji' and has been known since 1905. It grows as a small tree with broad, horizontally spread branches. The leaf shoots are bronze-green. The leaves are deeply serrate and about 12 cm long. The flowers are about 5–6 cm wide and pure white.
  • 'Tai Haku': This variety, which was only (re) discovered in the West around 1900, was known in Japan as the “Great White Cherry” for a long time before. As a tree it grows up to eight meters high and is vigorous. The leaf shoots are conspicuously copper-red. The leaves are up to 16 × 10 cm in size on strong specimens. The flowers are bright white and up to 6 cm wide. They stand in clusters near the branch tip.
  • 'Ukon': This fast-growing variety has red to yellow-brown leaves. The half-double flowers are yellowish-white to greenish-yellow in color; the flower color fades a bit during the flowering period.


See also


  • Li Chaoluan, Jiang Shunyuan, Bruce Bartholomew: Cerasus in der Flora of China, Volume 9, 2003, p. 416: Prunus serrulata - Online. (Section Description and Distribution)
  • Alan Mitchell: A Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe, Collins Publishers, London 1974.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Bochum Botanical Association
  2. Prunus serrulata at Tropicos.org. In: IPCN Chromosome Reports . Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis

Web links

Commons : Japanese Cherry ( Prunus serrulata )  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files