Friday, February 5, 2010


winter blossoms, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

zawazu (early cherry, pink)
robai (yellow wax plum)
ume (plum - actually a kind of apricot - white and pink)

How to identify cherry blossom: the flowers grow in clusters on stems out from the tree branch and each petal has a little divot in its outer edge. In contrast, plum (ume) and apple (boke) and their relations have flowers which appear to be directly attached to the branches, and the outer edges have no divot. ..there may of course be exceptions... but now you need never again be embarrassed by exclaiming "oo lovely cherry blossom" at an ume tree, as so many visitors shamefully do.

Identifying the trees when not in bloom: if you see a really old looking tree with broken bark and twisted branches, sometimes quite dark in colour, held together with string, that's probably ume. Cherry trees are typically more robust and youthful looking. Whether this is partly because the cherry are municipally planted by city workers, and replaced when they get fragile, rather than nurtured by loving gardeners for decades, I am not sure - but I think it is just the way the two trees grow.

[all pics taken by j and J in Kamakura in January]

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