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Cherry Blossoms

Naturalist Weekly

How many, many things
They call to mind
These cherry blossoms!
~Matsuo Basho

In Basho’s home country of Japan there are over one hundred varieties of cherry trees. The most popular cherry tree in Japan is known as Somei Yoshino.  The Somei Yoshino was heavily cultivated in Tokyo during the Edo Period, which is also the time that Basho was alive and writing haiku. Somei Yoshino trees have a slightly pink, almost white, 5-petaled flowers. Their appearance is particularly intense thanks in part to the fact that their fresh leaves do not emerge until after the peak of the flowering season.(1)

This intense nature of the spring cherry blossom bloom could explain why Basho also wrote this haiku:

A lovely spring night
suddenly vanished while we
viewed cherry blossoms
~Matsuo Basho

The Japanese have been celebrating the blooming of the cherry blossom for over a 1,000 years with…

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