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 UBC Botanical Garden’s Douglas Justice and the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival). Other material for today’s entry was sourced from Japanese Flowering Cherries by Kuitert.