Libations

Cherry Blossom Varieties (Sakura)

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2011 at 3:30 pm
Below is a guide to some of the representative varieties of these 300.
Edohigan
Edohigan
[petals: 5 / color: faint pink and white / season: late March – early April]
Edohigan got its name from the fact that it starts blossoming around higan (spring equinox) and can be seen a lot around the Kanto region (of which the center was Edo a few centuries back). Today the blossoms can be appreciated in most parts of Japan excluding Hokkaido and Okinawa. Edohigan has one of the longest life span among the cherry trees and there remain many trees that are known for its age and beauty. It is one parent of the most common Someiyoshino kind.
Oshimazakura
Oshimazakura
[petals: 5 / color: white / season: early April]
Oshimazakura, as its name tells, is a kind of cherry tree that have its origins in the Izu Oshima Island located south of main prefecture Tokyo. It is estimated as a coastal or island type of Kasumizakura. The blossoms have a good fragrance, and most of the leaves used forsakuramochi (a kind of Japanese dumpling sweets which is wrapped with salt-pickled sakura leaves) are of this kind. Oshimazakura is many times used as a parent of various cultivated sakura trees. If it had not been for this kind there probably would not have been as many sakura seen in Japan today.
Someiyoshino
Someiyoshino
[petals: 5 / color: faint pink / season: late March – early April]
The most common kind of sakura trees seen in Japan today is actually a cultivated kind believed to be of Edohigan and Oshimazakura. It is said that the beginning of this kind dates back to some time in the late Edo Period when a gardener in the Edo Somei Village sold it as Yoshinozakura. All of the Someiyoshino trees which we see today in Japan are grown by human hand with vegetative reproduction such as grafting. For this reason, though the parents have long life span of centuries, Someiyoshino’s is short only lasting several decades.
Kanhizakura
Kanhizakura
[petals: 5 / color: dark scarlet / season: early to mid March]
Kanhizakura is one of the earliest sakura that starts blossoming in early March, and for its dark color the blossoms they are called kanhizakura (cold–scarlet–sakura). There are wild trees growing on the Ishigakijima Island of Okinawa (southernmost Japan) and because it grows wild in the warmer areas the kind is weak against cold climate. Its scientific name is “campanulata” means “the shape of a bell”, which is believed to have come from its drooping figure not opening the blossoms all the way.
Ohkanzakura
Ohkanzakura
[petals: 5 / color: faint pink / season: early March]
A mixed breed of Kanhizakura and Oshimazakura. Like its parent, the blossoms do not open fully and droop even at full blossoming. As compared to its sibling Kanzakura the blossoming season is slightly late, yet has a head start from most of the other kinds.
Kawazuzakura
Kawazuzakura
[petals: 5 / color: faint purplish pink / season: early to late February]
Kawazuzakura is probably the earliest blossoming sakura, so early that it is sometimes confused with plum or peach. It is a mixed kind of Kanhizakura and Oshimazakura, yet not cultivated but found wild. Later on the trees were transplanted to Kawazu Town of Shizuoka Prefecture, and today it invites a number of tourists to the town in early spring. The petals open widely and flatly but blossom facing slightly downward.
Shidarezakura
Shidarezakura
[petals: – / color: – / season: -]
Shidarezakura is not a name for a particular breed but a name for the form of the trees namely branches. As it is written in kanji it literally means “sakura with drooping boughs” and is commonly known as “weeping cherry tree” in English. It is believed that the boughs hang down because of precocious development. Many of them are of Edohigan kind, and from the old days these trees are planted on the grounds of temples and shrines. Like the “straight” Edohigan trees it has a long life span and often times grows into giant trees.
Yaezakura
Yaezakura
[petals: 10-20 / color: faint pink, white, dark scarlet, etc. / season: late March – late April]
Yaezakura is a general name for the blossoms that have more petals than the usual five. The word “yae” (yah-eh) means “in eight layers” and commonly the Yaezakura blossoms have from 10 to 20 petals. Various kinds of Yaezakura can be seen across Japan in different colors. From its shape which resembles that of peony some of them are known also by the name of “Botanzakura” (peony sakura). As compared to the other breeds Yaezakura blossoms rather late pulling the sakura season after the Someiyoshino blossoms have fallen.
Youkou
Youkou
[petals: 5 / color: dark purplish pink / season: mid March]
Youkou (yoh-koh) is a cultivated kind mixing the Amagiyoshino kind and Kanhizakura. This type blossoms before Someiyoshino, and has big and dark colored blossoms.
Yamazakura
Yamazakura
[petals: 5 / color: white – faint pinkish white / season: early April]
Wild Yamazakura can be seen in a wide area of southern half of Honshu (main island Japan). It has the second longest life span next to Edohigan, and like Edohigan there are a number of old and famous tress all over Japan. Though it is an independent kind, it has a wide variation in the ways it puts on blossoms from the colors and shapes of the buds and blossoms. There are even ones that never put on blossoms. Most of the sakura trees growing on the mountainsides of Yoshinoyama (Nara Pref) are of Yamazakura kind.
Ukonzakura
Ukonzakura
[petals: 10-20 / color: faint yellow green / season: late April]
A very rare kind of sakura also known by the name of “kizakura” due to its color of faint yellow green to green. The name Ukonzakura came from its color resembling textiles dyed with ukon(turmeric) stem and root. It puts on blossoms with several layers, after most of the other kinds have welcome the season’s blossoming.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: