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Can you Identify the Sakura (Flowering Cherry) Blossom??

Updated: Feb 14, 2019

Sprig is just around the corner together with many spring flowers. We are so excited about going around to see them, soon. Kyoto, Osaka, and yes, Hiroshima is also great to view them all!

The top 3 spring flowers are the Plum, Peach and Sakura (i.e., flowering cherry) blossoms and in Japan the beautiful blossoms last from February till May.

Do you think you can identify them all?

The three blossoms look very similar because they are very close in both size and color.

However each blossom has a myriad of variations in the color, the number of petals, the shape of the branches, the tree height and the timing of their full blossom, which makes the question more difficult.

Last spring, I saw two elderly Japanese ladies talking about the blossoms in front of a Plum tree, which gave me a little chuckle. One of ladies said.... "Wow, Sakura is so beautiful". The other lady responded... "What? No, it's too early to see Sakura blossoms. These are Plum blossoms." The first lady nodded her head several times in agreement. It looked like the ladies were very good friends.

Are you able to identify the following three flowers shown below? Which is which?

It is difficult to explain the difference just by one word, but the list below tries to categorize the differences:

1) Flowering Time (it varies by locations)

  • Plum: February ~ April

  • Peach: March ~ early April

  • Sakura: March ~ May

2) Shape of Flower Petals

  • Plum: Round

  • Peach: Relatively sharp

  • Sakura: Split into two

3) Length of the Stem (i.e., Peduncle)

  • Plum: Short

  • Peach: Short

  • Sakura: Long

4) Number of flowers on a section of branches

  • Plum: One

  • Peach: Two

  • Sakura: Many

5) Leaf growth

  • Plum: Appears after flower blossom ends

  • Peach: Appears together with flower

  • Sakura: Appears after flower blossom ends

With this information you should now be able to distinguish the different blossoms. From the left in the above photos, they are Plum, Peach and Sakura.

Attached are some good illustrations from a blog page, shown here for easy reference. From the left, they are Plum, Peach and Sakura.

You may notice these petals in the design of Japanese kimonos, obis and door entrance ways - the Japanese are extremely proud of their three blossoms!

Please enjoy these three Japanese spring flowers, by better understanding their subtle differences.


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