10 responses to “Prunus yedoensis ‘Akebono’”

  1. elizabeth a airhart

    thank you just lovely i used to live in nj
    could not wait for spring and for all the
    flowering tress to bloom and driveing out
    to the country to see the dogwoods all the
    rock gardens soon to bloom i just loved
    walking under a arch of flowering trees
    happy two years

  2. Ron B

    ‘Akebono’ is frequently seen here but particularly nice in bloom, because of its additional pinkness more interesting than the whiter clone sold simply as P. X yedoensis. It is also hardier.
    Somei is an earlier name for Tokyo.
    It has been stated that the California ‘Akebono’ is different from one grown in Japan, where they call ours ‘Amerika’.
    A friend who visited the Tidal Basin plantings in D.C. said the P. X yedoensis there did not appear to enjoy the conditions as much as they seem to out here. Maybe the specimens in the D.C. planting are just getting on a bit:
    “Compared to the Japanese mountain cherry (P. serrulata var. spontanea) or the Edo-higan cherry (P. pendula f. ascendens), it is short-lived; an eighty-year-old tree is exceptionally old. Usually before that time the tree starts to fall apart: the stem becomes twisted with fissures that show adventive roots growing in decaying parts of the trunk. Young shoots and flower buds may come up from adventive buds, even in old, mossy parts of the bark. Though very strong in the cityscape, where it can survive gasoline fumes with asphalt coming up to its trunk (at least if provided with a good, deep soil), it is not very disease resistant in Japan, where witches’-broom can cause serious problems.”
    –W. Kuitert, JAPANESE FLOWERING CHERRIES

  3. Ron B

    It would be interesting to find out of the ‘Jo-nioi’ listed in this account for the Nitobe garden is the same clone or cultivar as the tree found in Seattle area mixed with ‘Shirotae’ (as though sold as that cultivar, by mistake*) and identified by A.L. Jacobson as ‘Hosokawa-nioi’:
    “Named after Lord Hosokawa, a Japanese noble. Faint pink buds open to pure white flowers, single or nearly so, cupped, richly fragrant, to 1 1/2″ wide in long-stemmed clusters of 3-7. The sepals are sharply toothed. Young foliage weak yellowish-bronze but soon green. In Seattle, rare. It has never been sold under its true name, but rather as ‘Shirotae’–or who knows what else.”
    –TREES OF SEATTLE – SECOND EDITION
    Kuitert says the sepals of ‘Jo-nioi’ are “unserrated (rarely dented at the top)” yet the drawing he uses (attributed to “G. Langendijk, 29 April 1965”) shows a specimen with numerous teeth, often nearly to the base of the sepals.
    He also states that flowers of ‘Jo-nioi’ have “occasionally one to two small petaloids” while each of those of ‘Hosokawa-nioi’ has “three or more, rarely even six, erect flaglike petaloids in the heart, a distinguishing characteristic.” I don’t remember the ones here having the latter feature but maybe Jacobson has seen them or has better information than Kuitert. There is a small one at a post office near here, I should go look.
    There also used to be two conspicuous rows of fine specimens lining a long drive at a residence northwest of Christianson’s nursery, near Mount Vernon, WA but recently these were replaced by hedging cedars.
    *Have seen ‘Hosokawa’ given (incorrectly) as synonym of ‘Shirotae’ by Greer Gardens web site, further implying a mixing of the two in local commerce

  4. Douglas Justice

    Ron: You should see all of the fun I’m having identifying (or mis-identifying) flowering cherries now that the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival has caught on. One has little choice but to use and to recommend Kuitert for most of the basic identification. Those of us with bigger libraries have a few more references, but as Kuitert often points out in his treatment, there is much confusion in both references and commerce, in Japan and the West. Any brief foray into the identification of unusual cherry cultivars proves him right. I’ve worked at this for years and been frustrated, confused and just plain wrong on numerous occasions. In my upcoming cherry blog entry (now archived at http://forums.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/threads/about-this-forum-and-douglass-blog-archives.36645/, the April 19 article​), I mention having run across a few specimens of what I think is Prunus ‘Surugadai-nioi’, a deliciously fragrant, single, white Oshima cherry with distinctly ragged petals. It looks a bit like ‘Jo-nioi’, which to my nose, is the finest smelling cherry (I’m the one who identified the Nitobe specimen).

    By the way, we’re trying to introduce people to the name “Somei-yoshino” for the tree that we know as Prunus x yedoensis. A number of Japanese questioned the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival folks about our use of the ambiguous common name “Yoshino” for this tree. In Japan, there are evidently other cherries associated with Yoshino. Anyway, it seems like a small effort on our part to attain some consistency in common naming (I know, I know, that’s why we have scientific names), and also to legitimize and broaden the appeal of a North American cherry blossom festival to Japanese people. On a related note, don’t you find it curious that this tree (whatever its common name), which is clearly clonal, has no cultivar name? I do. The flower association of Japan lists it as P. x yedoensis ‘Yedoensis’, but I believe the Cultivated Code forbids such a repeated name. Perhaps we should propose ‘Somei-yoshino’.

    I’m sure a number of people would be interested in documenting the differences in cherry cultivars between Seattle and Vancouver. Clearly, that we sit on different sides of an international border and Seattle’s climate is somewhat warmer goes some way to explaining the differences, but I’ll bet there are a good many similarities. I know that agricultural importation regulations were not always so strict, nor so different between Canada and the US. I also know that parks departments everywhere traditionally kept lousy records. More work for us.

  5. Ron B

    I’m delighted to hear you are working on Vancouver’s Japanese cherries and that there is growing interest among others. I will say some things here that are not news to you, but the two of us aren’t the only ones in the room.
    I see Kuitert’s ‘Classification Key’ says in the entry leading to ‘Jo-nioi’ that “heart of flower does not turn red at end of flowering.” I remember those identified here by Jacobson as ‘Hosokawa-nioi’ as turning red in the center. Since Kuitert presents the latter as a sub-entry under ‘Jo-nioi’ an implication can be assumed that it shares that characteristic. The thing is, Jacobson is careful and thorough, he may have other information I haven’t heard or seen that clinches the ones here as ‘Hosokawa-nioi’.
    About P. X yedoensis and the Yoshino cherry common name issue Kuitert says
    “It was exported under the name Yoshino cherry in the early twentieth century and might still be found under this name in the West. This might lead to confusion with cherries from Yoshino, that is to say, the Japanese mountain cherry (P. serrulata var. spontanea). In fact, the advice to refrain from the name Yoshino is almost a century old.”
    Yes, I too have thought the large white clone sold simply as P. X yedoensis needs to have a cultivar name. There are other cultivars, such as ‘Akebono’ and ‘Afterglow’ being grown that are attributed to the same hybrid species.
    I’ve looked for the Flower Association of Japan 2-volume set on Japanese cherries at the UBCBG library a couple of times but have not been able to find it. Bean (TREES AND SHRUBS HARDY IN THE BRITISH ISLES) gives this as the motherlode for this topic. Jacobson looked at it in California while preparing NORTH AMERICAN LANDSCAPE TREES.
    Another thing Jacobson has done is put ‘Trees of the Rose Family in Victoria, B.C.’ (http://www.arthurleej.com/a-victoriarosetrees.html) on his web site. Victoria has grown various Japanese cherries and other Prunus not seen down here much, if at all. If nobody has propagated from what remains of the plantings there and taken them to Vancouver or even put them into commerce on Vancouver Island, they should. One year I took Jacobson’s notes up there and found an interesting button-like double Higan cherry, as well as the fall-through-winter-blooming ‘Fudan-zakura’ (later I saw a short row of young specimens of these last at Carlton nursery in Oregon, but it I haven’t seen it being offered) and Miss Lindsay’s plum. I have also seen the plum at the Hillier arboretum in England, where as in Victoria the flower display seemed thin and apt to be overwhelmed by the emerging leaves. However, after several years in my garden an example of this unusual cultivar (almond pink flowers, green leaves on purple branches) has proved to be capable of wreathing its branches in a showy display.

  6. Maria

    Gostaria de informaçoes como obter sementes dessa maravilhosa arvore!
    Obrigada
    Maria

  7. Ron B

    I forgot to mention earlier that Jacobson, NORTH AMERICAN LANDSCAPE TREES reports that ‘Akebono’ was “Selected in 1920 by W.B. Clarke nursery of San Jose, CA. Introduced ca. 1925.” Above entry says it was selected in 1925.

  8. Daniel Mosquin

    Maria, seeds will likely not come true. To have the true cultivar, you’d need to be sourcing cuttings.

  9. Denis

    Is this an one of those old hybrids of unknown/lost parentage?
    Or are the species in Ron’s post, P. serrulata var. spontanea P. pendula f. ascendens, used in the comparison due to being the parents of xyedoensis?
    Just curious.

  10. sadrin franck

    Hi,
    I am very pleased to find such an interest here about japanese flowering cherries…
    About ‘Akebono’, I was in the USA last december and I took some scions that are now grafted in France and already about 1m – 1m50 high, this way i will be able to compare the ones from the USA and the ones we have in France, Belgium and UK.
    Many questions are still remaining about correct identifications of japanese prunus and this is the reason why i made a book in french (it will be printed in february 2014) in order to answer to questions, comparing trees from Europe, Japan and USA, i have been working with the RHS in the UK and the Hananokai in Japan, and i grow about 300 hundred different kinds of them including the “matsumae” collection of Mr Masatoshi Asari from Hokkaido, northern japanese island.
    I will be happy to exchange scions and to talk about this subject with people interested in japanese flowering cherries.
    Thank you !
    Mr Sadrin Franck

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