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Rare Facts About Cherry Blossoms

When it comes to touring for the blossoms of flora, none gets more attention that of Cherry Blossoms. Ornamental cherry trees are known for the vibrant petals they produce during the springtime and this past March 20, more than 1.5 million were in attendance for the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Last year, Japan saw about 2.6 million tourists enter the country to see the blossoms last March. Since it’s the season of the Cherry Blossom, here are some interesting facts about these colorful trees:

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1. You’ll Only Find Cherry Blossoms in a Handful of Countries

In Yoshino and Kyoto, two locations in the country of Japan, the cherry blossoms or sakura happen to be famous across the globe. For centuries, tourists have entered the country each season to participate in the activity of flower viewing.

If traveling to Japan is out of the question, you can try places like Washington, D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston. There are other places in Asia and some in Europe where cherry blossoms can be observed and admired.

It is also possible to take in the beauty of ornamental cherry trees in Brazil and Australia.

2. The Cherry Blossom Capital of The World is In the State of Georgia

Japan is known for popularizing the appreciation of cherry blossoms during the springtime, but surprisingly the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the World” is located in the United States.

Located in Macon, Georgia, there are 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees, dwarfing the less than 4,000 located within Washinton, D.C.

3. There are Hundreds of Cherry Tree Varieties

Like flowers, there are a variety of cherry trees. But there are just a few dozen, but it is entirely possible there are approximately more than 600 types of cherry trees just in Japan.

Many of the trees go from a dark pink to a slightly lighter shade, and then to white during their blossom stage. Others might change from what looks to be greenish yellow to white and then pink.

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Kanzan is a special type of cherry tree bred to have 28 petals on a single flower, while the traditional Yoshino tree bears five petals to a flower.

4. They Don’t Bloom for Long

If you miss out on this season’s cherry blossoms, you’ll have to wait till next march. Most trees will bloom for one to two weeks, leaving little time to appreciate the color the trees have to offer.

Location, heat, and daylight all play a factor in how the trees bloom. A location like D.C. sees the florets at the beginning of March, with peak bloom seen toward late March or early April.

The National Park Service has predicted peak bloom during the first week of April this year.

5. Climate Change Could be Making Them Blossom Earlier

Climate change is affecting the hunting and migration patterns of many animals, and cherry blossoms are affected by the drastic changes in temperature as well. Experts say this may be the reason we are seeing blossoms so much earlier than before.

By 2080, according to Dr. Soo-Hyung Kim, an ecophysiologist at the University of Washington, we might be seeing cherry blossoms in February.

6. You Can Get Arrested for Plucking a Cherry Blossom in Washington, D.C.

Cherry blossoms are indeed beautiful. Some might find them so beautiful it’s hard to resist plucking a few petals to take home. In Washington, D.C. plucking on a blossom or branch can carry the same fine as smashing in a car window.

Law enforcement will issue warnings in an effort to de-escalate a situation, but one should remember that climbing the trees here is also illegal.
If the main branch is broken, the tree will never again be able to produce blossoms on that section.

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7. The Very First Cherry Trees to Arrive in America Were a Complete Disaster

As a friendly gesture, the country of Japan sent 2000 cherry trees to the United States in 1909. This was likely in response to President Teddy Roosevelt helping negotiate the end to a war the Asian country had been involved in.

The trees arrived in January of 1910 in terrible condition and were infested with insects called root-borers. Unfortunately, the first trees had to be tossed and burned.

Japan sent more trees in 1912, which were very healthy and planted by then-First Lady Helen Taft in Washington D.C.

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