I did an intro session for new cherry scouts last week, and I was feeling sorry for them (and the seasoned scouts too) with all the confusing single white blossomed trees starting to come into bloom. But then our scout Mariko Izaki, who lives back in Japan now, wrote about Tama Forest Science Centre in Tokyo Prefecture where there are about 1600 cherries of 600 kinds! I can't imagine what that must be like. Maybe they all come with tags. I surely wish ours came with tags. When I was new at this, we were all having trouble distinguishing 'Somei-yoshino' from 'Akebono'. Now we've learned that the 'Akebono' blossoms looking so billowy all around town these days are a bit larger than 'Somei-yoshino'; they're often a bit pinker, and some of the blossoms have some extra petals and some have staminodes - extra half-petal looking things - in the centres of the blossoms. The first photo here is 'Somei-yoshino' and the second is 'Akebono', showing a staminode, both photos by Willy Su. Now that I'm so experienced, I'm almost totally unable to distinguish 'Somei-yoshino' from any other cultivar with single white blossoms. Well, I exaggerate, but only a bit. I thought I could recognize the Oshima cherry, but Joseph Lin and I have both found trees that we were told could be Oshima, and now I no longer get it. I saw some young trees in QE Park last week and was very reluctant to call them 'Somei-yoshino', but if not that, what? Well, I saw a 'Tai Haku' in bloom today downtown, with it's huge white blossoms. At least that was easy, even if it was way to early for me to expect to see it. Here is Joseph Lin's photo of Oshima cherry blossoms and my photo of 'Tai Haku'. It occurs to me I'm supposed to be writing encouraging notes for scouts here. Well, this caught me at a bad time. Maybe next week. The 'Mikuruma-gaeshi' and 'Takasago' are coming. I can do those.