Botany Photo of the Day
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February 16, 2016: Botany Photo of the Day will return this spring with a new format similar to the new UBC Botanical Garden web site. In the meantime, please enjoy the restored content!

Prunus × subhirtella 'Autumnalis Rosea'

Prunus × subhirtella 'Autumnalis Rosea'
Prunus × subhirtella 'Autumnalis Rosea'

A thank you to Meighan@Flickr for sharing today's photographs with us via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool (original images, photographed early last week at the Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, are here and here). Thank you!

Organizing for the 2011 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is well underway it seems, and the earliest of the flowering cherries are starting to bloom. Activity is also picking up in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Forums, for those local and distant readers who would like to follow the blooming of the cherry trees in neighbourhoods across the city and region (and some in Japan, too!).

Prunus × subhirtella 'Autumnalis Rosea' , or pink winter cherry, is an old cultivar of Japanese gardens. It is a slight variant of Prunus × subhirtella 'Jugatsu-zakura' (incorrectly known as Prunus × subhirtella 'Autumnalis'), with Prunus × subhirtella 'Autumnalis Rosea' having brighter pink flowers and pink buds instead of white. 'Jugatsu-zakura' translates to "cherry of the tenth month" implying an October bloom time, which coincides with a common autumn warm spell that occurs in Japan. In other parts of the world (like Vancouver), it may blossom sparingly in the autumn and throughout the winter, and then will have a full flush of flowers in February or March.

Pink winter cherry typically remains under 5m (16.5 ft.) tall with a broad and open form. Unfortunately, in our locale, it is subject to disease: "the flowers and smallest twigs to brown rot disease, which causes dieback in wet weather, and the larger stems to bacterial canker, especially when trees are grafted on mazzard rootstock" (from Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver by Douglas Justice and the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival). Other material for today's entry was sourced from Japanese Flowering Cherries by Kuitert.


I forget the details but had heard of this cherry being brought into cultivation in the late 1600's due to an emperor noticing cherry blossoms in a Kyoto courtyard in late fall, a time of year when there was not any cherry known to bloom. He sent couriers out to locate the source and when they discovered a single tree in bloom in a private garden, grafts were made from that early, erratically blooming specimen hence the name, 'Autumnalis'

O I just can't wait for all the lush fluffy bounty of blooms!!!
In fact, right now, along Pacific Blvd in English Bay, there are about a dozen early blooming cherries to tease us before everything just bursts!! What is it, 42 days until the Spring Equinox???

Cherry Blossom time is lovely all over the world, isn't it?

Flowering cherries are out in full strength in San Francisco. They arrived 2-3 weeks earlier this year than last year.

Ahhh...hope springs eternal! Thank you for lifting my spirits. It's hard to believe that spring blossoms like this are so near yet so far from here. As you said Elizabeth, "42 days until the Spring Equinox" (approx.)!

So uplifting on a sub-zero, blistery day in February -- another good reason to move to Vancouver!

V.V.Beautiful & Excellent.

Waiting anxiously !!!!!
Great photos

Thanks for the reminder that spring will come! (-15 C in Toronto today...)

cherry blossoms-
of years past. basho 1644-1694

i have deep memories of cherry blossom time up north in nj and in dc
the picture is just lovely thank you branch brook park still there

my issue of horticulture magazine is here public gardens in america feb/mar
with a lovely spread on the smithsonian gardens, daniel, with this link and click archives of american gardens

Is Meighan a natural Cherry Scout or what! She just signed up to be a scout a couple of weeks ago and she's already on the job.

If you're in the Vancouver area and want to join the group (we teach you what and where, you tell us when by posting photos on the forums, and you also seek out undocumented locations), have a look at the Cherry Scouts page on the festival's website.

Wendy kindly pointed out that the flowering tree I posted earlier is a flowering plum, not a cherry. Thanks for the correction, Wendy!

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