Cherry Blossom Cards

Sakura card by ndavid paper artist

These beautiful cherry blossom cards were made by ndavid, a paper artist, who displayed them during Sakura Days.

Sakura card by ndavid paper artist

You’ll find instructions on how to make these cards in the book “3D pop-up greeting cards” by Keiko Nakazawa. All patterns are cut using an exacto knife. Recommended for advanced crafters only.

Sakura card by ndavid paper artist

Mr. David is selling these cherry blossoms cards (and various other models) at the Granville Island market in the artist alley. Stop by and say hello.

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Kanzan fallen petals

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It’s time to say goodbye to Kanzan cherry blossoms.

Kanzan cherry blossoms fallen petals

Cherry petals are covering the driveway.

Kanzan cherry blossoms fallen petals

It’s been raining petals all day.

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Freshly fallen petals.

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This couldn’t last.

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One last Kanzan blossom on a bed of petals.

Shirofugen Bud Scales

Shirofugen red bud scales

I was taking a walk under a row of Shirofugen cherry trees when I noticed these petal-shaped things on the sidewalk.

Shirofugen red bud scales

I took a closer look but realized they were obviously not petals.

Shirofugen red bud scales

I examined the cherry tree to determine where they were coming from.

Shirofugen red bud scales

They were bud scales.

(Can you name the other parts of the cherry trees?)

Shirofugen red bud scales

It’s the end of season for Shirofugen. You can notice the cherry blossoms turning from white to pink.

Shirofugen red bud scales

The tree is getting rid of all the unnecessary parts like the bud scales and, soon, the blossoms.

Shirofugen red bud scales

The red bud scales are visible through the pink blossoms and copper leaves of the Shirofugen.

Enjoy the blossoms while you can.

To find out if there are Shirofugen where you live, check out the VCBF cherry blossom viewing map.

Shogetsu versus Shirofugen

Shogetsu cherry blossom

How can you tell the different between Shogetsu and Shirofugen cherry trees?

They both have white double-flowers and they bloom at the same time in Vancouver (just about now), so how can you identify them?

I decided to put my cherry scout training in practice and try to identify a white cherry tree  blooming on my street. I quickly determined that it was Shogetsu (as opposed to a Shirofugen). Here’s why:

Shogetsu cherry blossom

Emerging leaves:  When you want to identify cherry trees, it’s important to keep field notes.

For example, I noticed a couple of weeks ago that the leaves of the tree were emerging (green) before the blossoms, which means the tree cherry was probably a Shogetsu (the leaves of Shirofugen are copper color when they emerge before turning to green then back to copper).

Shogetsu cherry blossom

The edge of the Shogetsu petals are fringed (instead of having a smooth round edge).

Wendy Cutler provided great pictures showing the difference between Shogetsu and Shirofugen cherry blossoms on the UBC forum (#6).

Shogetsu cherry blossom

Petal count:  I’ve counted about 25 petals on the blossoms. Shogetsu have 20-25 petals, but Shirofugen can have up to 40.

Shogetsu cherry blossom

Flowers: the elegant blossoms were at the end of long stalks of 4-6 corymbs. The picture I took was very similar to the photo from the book Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver, confirming my belief this was a Shogetsu.

Shogetsu cherry blossom

Color of the leaves:  no sign of copper. All the leaves are a healthy green.

Shogetsu cherry blossom

Presence of a phylloid (which is also present in Shirofugen).

Shogetsu cherry blossom

Buds: with a hint of pink, but blossoms open pure white.

I think the first four elements were the ones that really allowed to identify the tree as Shogetsu: green leaves emerging before the blossoms, fringed-edge petals, long stalks,  and 25 petals.

Are there Shogetsu cherry trees in your neighborhood? Find out on the VCBF map.

Recommended Readings

Recommended books about cherry blossoms:

Ornamental cherries in Vancouver, by Douglas Justice

Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver, by Douglas Justice

Flowering cherries, by Geoffrey Chadbund

Flowering Cherries, by Geoffrey Chadbund.

Japanese Flower cherries, by Wybe Kuitert

Japanese Flowering Cherries, by Wybe Kuitert.

Trees of Vancouver, By Gerald Bane Straley

Trees of Vancouver, by Gerald Bane Straley.

Ornamental Cherries by Collingwood Ingram

Ornamental Cherries, by Ingram Collingwood.

Thank you to Douglas Justice for providing this list of resources during the Blossom Biology workshop at VanDusen Garden.

How to identify cherry blossoms

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I used to take lots of pictures of cherry blossoms, then come home and browse through the guide Ornamental cherries in Vancouver to try to find out what kind of cherry tree it was.

At the Blossom Biology workshop with Douglas Justice, I learnt that identifying cherry trees is a process: you can’t identify the cherry tree by looking solely at the blossoms. The color of the emerging leaves (green or copper) and the color of the blossoms (some will open pink and turn white) will give you clues on its identity. The shape of the tree, too.

This means you need to photograph more than just the blossoms if you want to be able to identify a cherry tree. Here are some tips:

  • Diffused light is best. Block the sun with a book so there are no shadows on the flower. This will allow you to capture the color of the blossoms (some hints of pink on a white flower can be a clue).
  • Measure the blossoms or photograph them next to a nickel or quarter to give an idea of the scale. Or use the ruler printed on the last page of the book Ornamental cherries in Vancouver.
  • Capture the whole tree. The shape of the crown will give you tips on what kind of tree it is. Fore more info, check out these drawings of cherry tree shapes by Wendy Cutler on the UBC forum showing different crowns: vase, umbrella, narrow, etc.
  • Look at the emerging flowers and leaves (some leaves are copper, others are green).
  • Examine the old flowers (some blossoms will come out pink and become white).
  • Number of petals (single flowers have 5 petals, semi-double flowers have 6-10 petals, double blossoms have 10 petals or more, and chrysanthemum cherry blossoms can have 100 petals!
  • Scent (some cherry trees will have a fragrant almond scent).
  • Part of the flowers: prunus avium is a white cherry tree easily recognizable by its recurved sepals (the leafy part shaped like a star that is usually in contact with the back of the flower is sticking up):

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If you’ve taken care of noting all these elements, identifying cherry trees will be easier.