17 February 2010 - what's in bloom

Discussion in 'Vancouver Cherry Blog' started by wcutler, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Well, I had an article all written about plums, which are smothering (oops, I mean in full bloom around) the West End now, but I got out of the hothouse here and got a look at a bit of the rest of the Vancouver world, and they're not out at all - just some sparse open blossoms. So I had to start all over.

    'Whitcomb' trees still look excellent. The ones at Tea Swamp Park (is that a great name or what?) at 15th and Sophia are starting to lose their colour now. Which means that they'll be harder from a distance to distinguish from 'Accolade' that are opening up. Close up, you can see that the 'Accolade' trees have double blossoms, which means the flowers have more than five petals, and they don't have any blossoms as dark as some of the 'Whitcomb' blossoms. The 'Accolade' combination of the dark buds and the dense delicate pink blossoms sometimes tinged with darker edges makes for some great photos.

    'Whitcomb' and 'Accolade' both blossom before the leaves come out. If you're wondering about the trees with the single white or pink blossoms just starting to open, see if they have a lot of leaves opening. Those are plums. Try to get their sort-of lollipop shape in your head. There is also a plum with double pink blossoms, Prunus x blireiana, that's very showy. Most of those here are young trees. The ones outside the Molson building mural are that plum cultivar.

    20080217_Pacific_Whitcomb_Cutler_1960.jpg 20080407_39Trafalgar_Accolade_Lin_0864.jpg 080322_Arbutus_Blireiana_Lin_7098.jpg

    This is 'Whitcomb' on the left, Joseph Lin's Accolade photo in the middle and Joseph's Blireiana plum photo on the right. They don't seem it in these photos, but the blossoms are all around the same size - about 3cm (1 inch). I just told you in the previous paragraph that 'Accolade' won't have leaves when the blossoms come out, and there's a leaf right there in that 'Accolade' photo, at the top. But just one, and it's not open yet! And notice the blossom bunch just 4 o'clock below that leaf, how the three stems are growing out of the same bracts. You won't see that on a plum, even when the stems are so close together that they seem to be growing in a bunch. That's really the distinguishing feature.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
    Okame is in full bloom in Stanwood, WA, as are some plums. So I would think the Lower Mainland would have multiple locations with this out also.

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