Interesting things about cherry blossoms you may not know

Referring to Japan, we all think of an iconic flower that is "Sakura". It is also engraved on a 100 yen coin and is a plant that is so familiar to the Japanese.

Dec 31, 2022 - 09:30
Feb 3, 2023 - 08:39
Interesting things about cherry blossoms you may not know

1. Cherry blossom belongs to the rose family, Rosaceae
Cherry blossom is a common name for plants belonging to the rose family Rosaceae. There are many different types of cherry blossoms in Japan. In Japanese, cherry blossoms are written in kanji as , in hiragana as and in katakana as .

2. The most planted cherry blossom species in Japan is   Someiyoshino (ソメイヨシノ)
The Someiyoshino cherry blossom variety has the scientific name of Cerasus x yedoensis (Matsum.) A.V. Vassil. This is a Japanese cherry blossom variety. Someiyoshino cherry blossoms have been planted all over Japan since the Meiji period. When the news reports about the beginning of the cherry blossom season, they often use Someiyoshino's blooming time as a standard.

3. Someiyoshino cherry blossom bloom time about 1 week
Cherry blossoms bloom in full bloom and fall in a very quick period of time. The cherry blossom petals fall continuously, causing the ground under the tree to be covered with fragile pink and white petals. It is the early fading of the cherry blossom petals, falling when they are at their most beautiful, that is an attractive feature of this flower.

4. The stage of flowering, changing leaves is also named
This stage is called  hazakura (葉桜). It may seem odd at first because there are no more cherry blossoms, but the word "sakura" is still there, this name refers to the stage when the young leaves are growing. This proves how much the Japanese people love this flower, love all stages of the cherry blossom tree's growth.

5. There are more than 600 species of cherry blossoms in Japan
This number includes both endemic and hybrid species in Japan. The cherry blossom is famous for being a tree that is constantly changing, this is reflected in the change of the petals, the size of the flower, the change in color, the increase and decrease in the number of fruits and many more. . For that reason, many hybrid cultivars were born.

6. The cherry blossom tree is very easy to wither
Cuts on the stem or roots will easily rot and gradually the condition will spread to the whole tree, causing the plant to die. Therefore, you must be very careful when spreading your blankets or rugs while viewing the cherry blossoms as you can completely shorten the life of the tree. Above is a picture of people using treatment to help cherry blossom trees not rot.

7. 2000 year old cherry tree
This ancient cherry blossom tree is called Jindai Zakura (神代桜). The circumference of the tree is 13.5 meters. You can admire this ancient cherry tree at Jissou Temple (実相寺) in Yamanashi Prefecture. Information on the official website in Japanese is here.

8. The names of different types of cherry blossoms depend on the number of petals
Flowers with 5 or fewer petals are called  hitoe (一重). The flowers with 5 to 10 petals are called  hanyae (半八重). Flowers with more than 10 petals are called  yae (八重). The photo above is the yae flowers.

9. Hanami is popular in Japan
Hanami (花見) means cherry blossom viewing. This is a traditional Japanese flower viewing, people hold a picnic under the tree and admire the flowers in bloom. You can eat, drink and see hanami flowers. Hanami is also a great event for people to get together and get to know their colleagues and friends better because the new school year usually starts in April, which is close to when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

10. You can eat both the leaves and the petals of the cherry blossoms
After the cherry blossom petals and leaves are processed through the  shiozuke (塩漬け) process, which means salting, you get  sakurazuke (桜漬け). Sakurazuke has a wonderful fragrance. They are used to decorate  on bread or sakura mochi (桜餅) (sakura sticky rice cake) as shown in the picture above. Sakura mochi is a traditional Japanese dish filled with sweet, pureed red bean paste wrapped in a soft, pink sakura-colored sticky rice cake. A leaf sakurazuke wrapped with this cute pink cake. The sakura mochi is a cake that is usually eaten during the cherry blossom season.

11. You can also drink water cherry blossom
Put 2 or 3 cherry blossom petals sakurazuke as mentioned above into a glass of water and we have a delicate drink called  sakurayu (桜湯). The cherry blossom blossoming in a glass of water looks beautiful and ethereal, that's why  sakurayu  is often used as a drink for formal events, such as weddings.

12. Cherry blossoms are often seen as a symbol of fragility, grace, and short-lived beauty
Each type of cherry blossom has its own language and meaning of spiritual beauty and good upbringing. The meaning of cherry blossom Someiyoshino is a person beautiful and pure. The meaning of cherry blossom sakura Yaezakura (八重桜), in English is double sakura cherry blossom, indicates a charming, graceful person with a good education background. In general, all kinds of cherry blossoms have a positive connotation.

13. In Japan, cherry blossoms are also a symbol of beginnings and spring
This is because a new school year and a new financial year in Japan begins in April, just when the cherry blossoms are mostly in bloom. Furthermore, many schools plant cherry blossom trees on campus.

14. Cherry blossoms carved on a 100 yen coin
This shows that the existence of cherry blossoms is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture. Other flowers are also engraved on the coins such as chrysanthemums on the 50 yen coin and the Tachibana flower on the 500 yen coin.

15. Japan Self-Defense Forces with cherry blossom logo
The Japan Self-Defense Force has a cherry blossom logo on its coat of arms and on its flag. However, cherry blossoms are not Japan's national flower. Japan has no official national flower.

16. Little girls can be named Sakura
Baby girl names can usually be Sakura or Sakurako (桜子). 'Ko' means child, and is usually placed at the end of female names. Cherry blossoms are often identified with femininity, so there aren't many boys named Sakura.

17. March 27 is Cherry Blossom Day
This date was decided by the Japanese Cherry Blossom Association Nihon Sakura no Kai (日本さくらの会) in 1992. However, the date is not an official national holiday.

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