Japanese Hill Cherry vs Korean Hill Cherry

Discussion in 'Ornamental Cherries' started by Ron B, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    There are many kinds of Japanese flowering cherries, including both wild species native to Japan and garden hybrids. Seattle (not including the arboretum) has 20 cultivars of Japanese garden cherries (Sato-zakura, the garden hybrids) alone. Tree shown may have the general appearance of a pink form of Japanese hill-cherry (Prunus jamasakura, syn. P. serrulata var. spontanea) I have seen in Seattle. The pink form seen there does look like 'Akebono' from a distance when in flower.

    An elegant species revered in its native Japan, but scarcely known in the West. It is very rare in Seattle. The twigs, winter buds, and leaves are slender. The leaves, pale beneath, devoid of hairs, are edged with very tiny teeth. It flowers markedly early in spring; pink buds open to pale pink or white blossoms, showy against the bronze or coppery young foliage. Fall color is pastels of yellow, orange and red, the pale undersides of the fallen leaves afford a lively contrast.

    --A.L. Jacobson, Trees of Seattle - Second Edition

    The Japanese mountain cherry is rarely seen in Europe or North America, because gardeners tend to overlook botanic species when planting a foreign and exotic tree. Yet, this cherry cannot be praised enough: it is healthy, vigorous, and profusely blooming - something even more spectacular when size is considered. Its small, single flowers contrasting charmingly with the red-brown young foliage that heralds the warmer days of spring. Mature leaves show a fine, acute, and single serration, and a glaucous underside. The bracts and bractlets are usually conspicuous red at the height of blossoming. Compared to other flowering cherries, this one is long lived. Collingwood Ingram regretted that his "oft repeated praise of this cherry would appear to have fallen on deaf ears."

    --W. Kuitert, Japanese Flowering Cherries (Timber Press)
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Re: P.serrulata var.spontanea - Single pinky white, early mid-season, round shape

    The Korean Hill Cherries I've seen down here tend to produce cross-like flowers not abundantly wreathing the branches throughout the tree. At the Loyal Heights Neighborhood Center for instance the pink form of Japanese Hill Cherry planted south of the building creates a breathtaking annual spectacle. The Korean Hill Cherries north and west of the building are unremarkable save for their botanical interest. One might attribute this to differences in exposure and other features of the planting sites except other specimens seen by me elsewhere in Seattle I remember as equally unimpressive in flower.

    Korean Hill Cherry also blooms later than Japanese Hill Cherry (and others), as Kuitert notes in Japanese Flowering Cherries (Timber Press). However, as I have seen them in Seattle the growth habits are the reverse of the comparison he makes, the Korean Hill Cherry being the more erect of the two. For years a friend and I assumed the Japanese Hill Cherries at the Neighborhood Center to be 'Akebono', looking across the playfield at them from his kitchen - until Jacobson straightened us out or I became aware in some other way.

    But as these are wild species such traits could vary. There used to be more of these trees to look at and compare here:

    "In fall 2005, at Ravenna Park the city's finest collection of Japanese Hill Cherries, along with three Korean Hill Cherries, an Oshima Cherry and a Higan Cherry were taken out. A fresh bare lawn replaced them. They had been planted in the 1930s or about 1940. If we desire to grow long-lived Japanese Flowering Cherry cultivars, we must graft them on Japanese seedlings rather than European seedlings. Now the city has lost a great source of such seeds"

    -- A.L. Jacobson, Trees of Seattle - Second Edition (2006)
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Re: P.serrulata var.spontanea - Single pinky white, early mid-season, round shape

    [Edited by wcutler 2011aug3: the duplication here is because I've combined and re-organized some threads]
    Jacobson's 2006 (TREES OF SEATTLE - SECOND EDITION) depictions of the two species may be of interest:

    Japanese Hill-cherry:

    "An elegant species revered in its native Japan, but scarcely known in the West. It is very rare in Seattle. The twigs, winter buds, and leaves are slender. The leaves, pale beneath, devoid of hairs, are edged with very tiny teeth. It flowers markedly early in spring; pink buds open to pale pink or white blossoms, showy against the bronze of coppery young foliage. Fall color is pastels of yellow, orange and red, the pale undersides of the fallen leaves afford a lively contrast"

    6 locations for viewing this tree in Seattle are listed.

    Korean Hill-cherry:

    "The Korean Hill (or Mountain) cherry is a large tree closely related to Sargent cherry. It differs in its leaves and flowers when closely examined but is very similar in size, form, and brilliant autumnal coloration. Overall, compared to Sargent cherry it is a less showy ornamental chiefly because instead of having early pink flowers it has later palest pink or white ones. And in our landscape the former floral effect is far more prized. Though the fruit is not choice, it is better than that of Sargent cherry. The Korean has hairy leaf stems and flower stems. It is rare in Seattle"

    9 locations for viewing this tree in Seattle are listed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2011

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