Different Cherry Tree Varieties in Washington DC
The springtime cherry tree blooms of Washington DC are not just the famous Yoshino variety. There are a staggering number of different varieties found across the district. Let’s name a few of them for you:
The Yoshino Cherry Tree (Prunus X Yedoensis)
The most common of the cherry trees, these are rounded on top, constituting a smooth grey bark and pale pink flowers. These have the mild scent of almonds and fade into white in time. Yoshino trees are the early bloomers and often sprout flowers from their barks. There are only 125 of the remaining gift trees from 1912 at the Tidal Basin. Though their life span can go upto 100 years in the apt climate, with constant human interference, replanting and soil-related factors, it’s been reduced to just 50 years.
There are two types of Yoshino trees, the Afterglow and the Akebono. Showy pink Afterglows rim the corner turning to the Buckeye Drive SW from the Ohio Drive. Akebonos or the Daybreak cherry trees can be found at the John Ericsson Memorial and near the Cuban Friendship Urn. These two hybrids are slightly smaller than the Yoshino and spread their branches spectacularly.
The Japanese Weeping Cherry Tree (Prunus Subhirtella)
A week before the Yoshinos bloom, many of the weeping cherries at Washington bloom into the picture, mainly at the Washington Monument and along the East Potomac Park. These drooping trees flower right at the time of the equinox, giving way to two types of trees: the Higan cherry trees (spring blooms) and the Autumn Flowering Cherry (autumnal blooms). There are around 90 weeping cherry trees in Washington.
The Takesimensis Cherry Tree (Prunus Takesimensis)
The Takesimensis trees can be found along the tips of the Haines Point. These grow specifically in wetlands, hence are more receptive to water-borne climate. White clusters of flowers on barks rising up 40 feet are its indicators.
The Sargent Variety (Prunus sargentii)
Crisp pink flowers which stay all-year around are the highlight of this variety. These colourful trees turn blistering red and orange in autumn making it a favorate in residential areas. They line the shores of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the East Potomac Park.
The Usuzumi Cherry Tree (Prunus spachiana Ascendens)
Usuzumi trees are heritage cuttings from the 1500-year old historic Usuzumi No Sakura tree in Japan. Considered to be the largest in Japan, its held up with external wooden planks and has been declared a National Treasure in 1922. The Usuzumi trees in Washington DC usually sprout in a V shape and are easily identifiable with their flat top and light pink flowers.
You can find many of them at the Tidal Basin welcome area and the West Potomac Park.
The Okame Trees (Prunus x Okame)
These oval shaped trees with bright pink flowers are fusion products between a Fuji and Taiwan cherry tree. It’s the earliest flowering cherry tree. Washington DC has just one main Okame tree. You can see it on the right of the 14th Street SW drive and the Washington Channel.
The Kwanzan Cherry Tree (Prunus serrulata Kwanzan)
These dark pink double-flowered gushes are the late blooming cherry trees found along the East Potomac Park. When they bloom, they sprout little green leaves and turn a brilliant orange shade in autumn. Trees of the prunus serrulata variety have many pink clusters of flowers hanging from them. Hence, viewing from underneath them would be ideal.
If you missed the main Yoshino bloom, these trees can give you the late cherry blossom effect as they bloom 10-14 days after the peak date.
Shirofugen (Prunus serrulata Shirofugen) and the Fugenza Cherry Tree (Prunus serrulata Fugenzo)
Similar to the Kwanzan, the Shirofugen and Fugenzo flower in hanging branches. The Shirofugen is almost the last cherry trees to bloom and has huge white flowers, while the Fugenzo flowers have more of a rose-pink shade. The West Potomac Park has many of them planted along the Potomac riverbank.