Oriental cherry (Prunus serrulata) is native to China, Korea and Japan. This species of cherry is the ancestor of the Sato-zakura group of Japanese cherry trees. The Oriental cherry is often a focal point in gardens, where clusters of flowers can be admired up close.
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There are many cultivars of the Oriental cherry that offer single and double blooms in shades of pink and white. In general, this tree has a rounded form and reddish-brown bark. Foliage may turn bronze in fall. Flowers appear just before the emergence of leaves.
The Oriental cherry is susceptible to injury from pests and diseases, as well as environmental stresses, such as air pollution and compacted soil. For these reasons, it is regarded as a short-lived tree. The Oriental cherry does well in moist and well-drained soil and full sun. It is cold hardy to United States Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 5.
The Kwanzan cherry is a popular cultivar of the Oriental cherry and was introduced to American gardens in 1903. Double pink flowers decorate the tree’s vase-like canopy in April and May. Every spring in Washington D.C., the Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the showy blooms of the Kwanzan and Yoshino cherry trees.