Prunus yedoensis, also known as the Yoshino Cherry or Tokyo Cherry, is a spectacular specimen in the cherry tree family. Renowned for its abundant, cloud-like drifts of soft pink blossoms and pleasant almond-like fragrance, this tree represents the epitome of springtime splendour and is an icon of cherry blossom festivals worldwide.
Yoshino Cherry differs from other cherry trees in a few significant ways. While many cherry trees are celebrated for their blossoms, few can rival the profusion of flowers that the Yoshino Cherry produces. In spring, before the leaves emerge, the tree is blanketed in masses of light pink, almost white, blossoms that create a breathtaking display. The delicate, almond-scented flowers emerge from pink buds and fade to almost white as they mature, resulting in a beautiful gradient effect.
Growing up to 10-15 metres in height and with a similar spread, Yoshino Cherry trees possess a wide-spreading canopy with a somewhat upright habit. This size and shape make them a perfect centrepiece for British gardens, offering a significant visual impact without overwhelming the garden space.
Yoshino Cherries are ideal for British garden designs due to their spectacular ornamental qualities. The dramatic spring blossom display serves as an impressive focal point, heralding the arrival of spring and imbuing the garden with a sense of enchantment. They prefer full sun and well-drained soil, and despite their exotic origins, they are quite hardy and can adapt well to the UK’s temperate climate.
From a wildlife perspective, the Yoshino Cherry is a valuable addition to the garden. The abundant blossoms provide an essential source of early nectar for bees and other pollinators. While the small, blackish fruits that follow the blossoms are not particularly attractive to humans due to their bitter taste, they are a favourite among birds and small mammals.
Yoshino Cherry trees have an interesting backstory. Despite being associated with Japan, they are believed to be a hybrid of two other Prunus species, one of which, Prunus speciosa, is native to a Japanese island. Also, they were the tree of choice for the famous gift from Japan to the United States in 1912, which resulted in the now-famous Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival.
In summary, the Yoshino Cherry, with its cloud of breathtaking blossoms, gentle fragrance, and the benefits it offers to local wildlife, is an exceptional addition to British gardens. Its beauty captivates anyone who witnesses it in full bloom, making it a fantastic choice for those seeking a tree that truly embodies the magic of springtime.