Characteristics of Japanese Cherry Tree (Prunus serrulata) in the Wild

Prunus serrulata
Japanese cherry or Oriental cherry is a species of tree native to China, Japan, Korea, and India. The trees are widely planted as flowering ornamental trees, both in their home countries and in zones with suitable climates throughout the world.

Many Japanese cherry tree cultivars have been selected as yard ornamental trees. Many cultivars have different color variants and flower shapes, making them look beautiful.

The cultivars include:

  • Prunus serrulata ‘Amanogawa’
  • Prunus serrulata ‘Kanzan’
  • Prunus serrulata ‘Kiku-shidare’
  • Prunus serrulata ‘Shirofugen’
  • Prunus serrulata ‘Shirotae’
  • Prunus serrulata ‘Tai Haku’
  • Prunus serrulata ‘Ukon’

Many of these cultivars were born as interspecific hybrids based on Oshima cherry (Prunus speciosa), an endemic species in Japan. The oldest cultivars based on the Oshima cherries, such as Fugenzou (aka Shirofugen or Albo-rosea) and Mikurumakaishi were born in the Muromachi period, while cultivars Kanzan was born in the Edo period.

And the varieties that are most widely grown as ornamental plants include:

  • Prunus serrulata var. hupehensis (originating from China)
  • Prunus serrulata var. lannesiana (originally from Japan)
  • Prunus serrulata var. pubescens (originating from Japan, Korea, China)
  • Prunus serrulata var. serrulata (originating from Japan, Korea, China)
  • Prunus serrulata var. spontanea (derived from)

In cultivation in Europe and North America, Japanese cherry trees are usually grafted into the roots of European cherry trees (Prunus avium) to produce a lot of flowers, but that causes the tree to rarely bear fruit. The transplanting tradition is done to respect the Japanese tradition, Hanami.


Characteristics of Japanese Cherry Leaf

Prunus serrulata Leaf
Source : Dang

Japanese cherry leaves are arranged alternately, simple, ovoid or lancet, 5-13 cm long, 3-7 cm wide, short leaf stalks, and the edges of the leaves are toothed.

In autumn, the leaves will turn yellow and then red and fall.


Characteristics of Japanese Cherry Flower

Prunus serrulata Flower
Source :

Japanese cherry flowers grow in groups of 2-5 in nodes on short spurs, appearing each spring together with new leaves. Generally, Japanese cherry flowers are pink and white, with five petals.


Characteristics of Japanese Cherry Fruit

Prunus serrulata Fruit
Source : Garin

The fruit is round black, about 1-2 cm in diameter, and tastes bitter.


Characteristics of Japanese Cherry Tree

Prunus serrulata Tree
Source : Rebel

Japanese cherry is included in the group of deciduous trees, its shape is in the form of a small tree with a single stem that is short, dense crown, and reaches 8-10 meters high. Japanese cherry bark is smooth, brown, and with prominent horizontal lenticels.


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