Flowering Cherry in spring with all images and text taken from the book Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Europe published by Reed New Holland in 2017, author Alan Birkett and ISBN 9781921517839.
The Kanzan Cherry shown here in April is one of the most popular of the Japanese Flowering Cherries, a large group of cultivars that were bred in Japan from the 15th Century and were known collectively as Sato Zakura (village cherries). Their taxonomic origin is unclear but one of their parents is believed to be the Japanese Cherry (Prunus serrulata), native to northern and central China, Korea and Japan. The flowering cherries were introduced to Britain as early as 1822. They bear white or pink flowers in spring. The cultivar ‘Kanzan’ was introduced to Britain in 1913 and is now widely planted in parks, in gardens and on streets. It has pink flowers in spring before the leaves. It is often just called Prunus ‘Kanzan’ in catalogues.
‘Kanzan’ flowers emerge out of deep red buds, with bronze leaves in mid April. The cultivar ‘Pink Perfection’ is a hybrid of ‘Kanzan’ and flowers at the same time but has double-pink flowers emerging with green leaves. Each ‘Kanzan’ flower has 23 to 28 petals.
The following is a selection of Japanese Flowering Cherry Cultivars. ‘Amanogawa’ has a vertical shape and pale pink flowers. ‘Cheal’s Weeping’ is a small, weeping tree with deep pink, double flowers. ‘Hokusai’ has pale pink, semi-double flowers. ‘Ichiyo’ has white, pink tinged flowers with 16 to 22 petals. ‘Pink Perfection’ has double pink flowers emerging with green leaves. ‘Shirotae’, also known as Mt Fuji, has white, semi-double flowers. ‘Shirofugen’ has pink/white flowers and is one of the last to flower in spring. ‘Shogetsu’ has large white double flowers clustered along the branches. ‘Tai Haku’, also known as the Great White Cherry’, has very large, white, single flowers and big leaves. ‘Ukon’ has white, green/yellow-tinged flowers.