“Flowering cherry trees are beautiful and often fragrant,” reports About Cherry Trees. They make an attractive display during blooming season and also work well as the focal point for a lawn. The Kwanzan cherry tree's scientific name is prunus serrulata, and its common name is the Japanese flowering cherry tree. The Kwanzan cherry tree’s name comes from a mountain in Japan.
The cherry blossom is sometimes unofficially dubbed Japan's national flower. It is rooted deep in Japanese culture. They used cherry blossoms to forecast how crops would do in the coming year. The Japanese have developed many cherry tree varieties over the centuries. All the varieties bloom for a short time with pink or white flowers.
The Kwanzan cherry tree, often used as an ornamental plant, has a medium growth rate. It reaches about 20 feet tall with a 20-foot branch spread when it is mature. It is vase-shaped, with a spreading crown. By final maturity, the tree is often wider than it is tall. The cherry tree has stout, reddish brown twigs. The buds are also large and reddish brown. The bark is thin and smooth, and ranges in color from red to bronze. It is glossy, with very prominent horizontal lenticels or pores.
The unusual flowers are very large compared to other cherry trees, and the blooming period is longer than most other trees. The flowers are very showy, usually with deep coloring, and they bloom in large clumps along the stem beginning in early spring. The Kwanzan variety is very sterile, so typically has no fruit, although the P. serrulata species does grow a small red cherry. Due to the lack of fruit, the tree does not attract wildlife.
Unlike all other cherry trees, Kwanzan trees begin to grow leaves while the flowers are still in bloom. As the blooms begin to fade and close up, they leave behind the glossy bark and green foliage. Leaves are often green with a hint of red that fades to yellow, orange or copper in the fall.
The Kwanzan cherry tree is primarily found in Japan, but it will also grow quite comfortably in any part of the United States. Like other flowering cherry trees, these trees like well-drained soil and will bloom fully in full sun. The Kwanzan was first introduced into America in 1903.
Cherry blossoms often are tied to ideas like the beauty and fragility of human life. This is largely due to their intense beauty and short survival span. Philosophers and spiritual leaders often use the flower to illustrate their ideas, and it is commonly used in poetic imagery as well.