Washington DC’s Romance with Cherry Trees

The history of cherry trees in Washington DC go way back.

In 1910, as a symbol of lasting friendship between United States of America and Japan, the then Mayor of Tokyo Yukio Ozaki gifted a set of 2000 Yoshino cherry trees to President William Howard Taft.

This first consignment was infested with insects and was burnt up completely. Undeterred, Japan sent another set of 3020 cherry trees of many varieties. The then First Lady Helen Herron Taft and the wife of the Japanese Ambassador Viscountess Chinda planted two samples of those trees marking the beginning of cherry tree culture in USA.

cherry trees

The Japanese Lantern at the Tidal Basin

The later set were distributed along the Tidal Basin and across some of Washington’s famous monuments. As you can see, the cherry blossoms have now extended beyond Washington DC downtown to the National Arboretum and the Arlington National Cemetery.

The inauguration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place by lighting of a 300-year old Japanese stone lantern gifted by Japan to the city of Washington.

Photographer tip: The oldest cherry trees are around this lantern. They are the thickest and have weeping branches falling into the Tidal Basin waters. A great click fro the camera!

Yoshino cherry trees are not just the only types of blooms in Washington DC. There are varieties which bloom all year long and late varieties such as the Kwanzan trees. Many of these are autumn blooming. So save some clicks for later in the year when the blooms shimmer in earthy tones of red and orange.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the types of cherry trees in Washington DC – Cherry Tree Types

Did you know there is also an annual Cherry Blossom Pageant for women in DC? This event crowns the Cherry Blossom Queen and Princesses!

Click here to uncover some rather interesting facts about the cherry trees and festival happening in DC every year!

The National Cherry Blossom Festival DC 2017: Click to know about the entire event schedule!


Other springtime events in DC – Click here to know more!

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3 Responses

  1. April 3, 2017

    […] History of the cherry blossom in Washington DC: Click to know how the cherry blossoms first bloomed in DC […]

  2. September 20, 2017

    […] How did this springtime celebration come about in Washington DC? – History of cherry blossoms in DC […]

  3. September 20, 2017

    […] How did many of these trees get here? Read about their history here. […]

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