Identification: Mikuruma-gaeshi - Single pinks, bronzy green leaves, mid-season

Discussion in 'Ornamental Cherries' started by wcutler, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    This has been identified below as Mikuruma-Gaeshi.

    I've attached photos of a cherry that has just come into bloom this week (first week of April) in the west end in Vancouver (BC). To me it looks a lot like the Takasago, but the blossoms are large singles. They're definitely pink, not white, which rules out everything on my list. The leaves are a sort of bronzy green. The branches are much sparser than the Ranchos and the blossoms are larger, but most of the trees do have a vase shape.

    I'd like to know what this is. Thanks.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Re: What cherry? Single pinks, bronzy green leaves, late season

    Looks like a hybrid Japanese cherry cultivar, one of the less usual ones. Outside of the basic small set offered by nurseries at this time there is a much larger number. In 1996 A. L. Jacobson's book NORTH AMERICAN LANDSCAPE TREES described 75 kinds. Possibly thumbing through W. Kuitert's more recent Timber Press book on Japanese cherries you might hit on a photo of your mystery variety. Or maybe Vancouver has records of street tree plantings that would tell what was planted where the one shown is.
     
  3. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    Re: What cherry? Single pinks, bronzy green leaves, late season

    I would call this mid-season in Vancouver, and late mid-season in the West End. Judging from the size and colour of the flowers, and the gangly, upright habit, I'd say you're looking at a Sato-zakura (village cherry) called 'Mikuruma-gaeshi' (the "royal carriage returns"), one of a group of little-known and disease-prone cherries gradually disappearing from the local street landscape.

    Like 'Takasago' the flowers of 'Mikuruma-gaeshi' are produced in dense clusters (on spurs) close to the stem. This architecture reduces air movement, making the flowers and new shoots susceptible to brown rot, which blights them, leaving ugly, withered tissue at the site of infection. This is really too bad, as the flowers are exquisitely beautiful--and why the royal carriage returned, no doubt.
     
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  4. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Re: What cherry? Single pinks, bronzy green leaves, mid season

    Thank you so much, Douglas. I read your Davidsonia article for about the 15th time, and had finally noticed that you said they looked like the Takasago, so I had just begun to wonder if that's what it was. Funny thing is, our tree list shows that there is supposed to be one in Chilco Park, where I've been expectantly looking for I wasn't sure what (and have not found it), but this one is right outside my apartment building.
     
  5. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    This concerns the spelling of the name, which I am posting here to get all the spellings recorded so a search on any will maybe get a hit. I got to see a copy of Gerald Straley's Trees of Vancouver and noticed that he talked about the "Mikurama-gaeshi", which our materials and Doug's posting spell "Mikaruma", so I checked with a friend to see if she knew what the Japanese would be, and she replied with a third option: "Mikuruma", which is Arthur Lee Jacobson's spelling. Mikaruma is a definite minority, so I'm changing the thread title to use Straley's, as that will match to the tree names from his book mapped into whatever Daniel is cooking up. I'm sure all those spellings are pronounced exactly the same.

    Update from November, 2008: see posting #9 - we're going to use Mikuruma-gaeshi now. wcutler
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Re: Mikurama-gaeshi - Single pinks, bronzy green leaves, mid-season

    "'Mikuruma-gaeshi' ("court carriage returned") has several interpretations. One often-heard explanation claims an imperial traveler ordered his carriage to return for a second look after passing a cherry of great beauty. According to some authors the traveler was the emperor Go-Mizuno-o (1596-1680), who is well remembered in horticultural circles for having commanded the construction of great gardens in Kyoto, some of which are still well kept. Another interpretation speaks of noblewomen picnicking under a cherry so beautiful that they decided to stay longer than planned and sent their carriage back. Historically documented, though, is the explanation that, after passing by an unknown but beautiful cherry, courtiers in a carriage quarreled over whether it was a single or a double cherry (Matsuoka 1758). One of them was sure to have seen single flowers, and the other was convinced they were double. To solve the dispute, the carriage was ordered to return so the courtiers could take another look. The cherry proved to have both single and a few double flowers."

    --Kuitert, Japanese Flowering Cherries
     
  7. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Mikuruma-gaeshi - single but also double

    Got it! The Royal Carriage Returned to see these double blossoms that occur only rarely on these trees, but I found a branch (1st and 3rd photos, branch on the right). Normally, there are some flowers with an extra petal (staminode, 2nd photo), but on this branch, all the blossoms had as many as 8 staminodes, so looked very double. Of twenty-nine of these trees at either end of my street in Vancouver's West End (a residential area between downtown and English Bay), only one had these double flowers, and only on this one (broken) branch.
    20080415_Pendrell_MikuramaGaeshi_Cutler_3520r.jpg 20080415_Pendrell_MikuramaGaeshi_Cutler_3550.jpg 20080415_Pendrell_MikuramaGaeshi_Cutler_3540.jpg 20080415_Pendrell_MikuramaGaeshi_Cutler_3526r.jpg

    I may as well attach a couple of photos of trees more in bloom than in the original posting.
    20080412_Pendrell_MikuramaGaeshi_Cutler_3231.jpg 20080415_Pendrell_MikuramaGaeshi_Cutler_3546.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  8. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I'm adding two photos to show the pink pin stripe veining and pink centres on older blossoms.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  9. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Back to the spelling! VCBF cherry scout Mariko Izaki wrote me, in response to my questioning of her spelling of Mikurumagaeshi in one of her postings:
    Mikurumagaeshi is one word in Japanese, but it consists of 3 words (3 parts).

    Mi = prefix meaning ① showing it belongs to emperor or noble people, or ② showing respect
    kuruma = vehicle, car, wheel, cart, carriage etc.
    gaeshi = kaeshi = return, go back etc.

    Kurama is a proper noun, a name of the place in Kyoto (ancient capital of Japan).
    Kurama is famous for its temple, used for a title of Kabuki, and used for a famous hero name but it doesn't have any meaning as a noun.

    So it can't be Mikurama-gaeshi.
    ...
    I'm not sure about Mikurumagaeshi or Mikuruma-gaeshi.
    As I wrote, Mikurumagaeshi is one word for Japanese, so I wrote Mikurumagaeshi, and many Japanese scholars use Mikurumagaeshi.
    But there are rules for writing Japanese in roman letters, which I don't know so well.
    For non-Japanese speakers, some Japanese nouns are too long; then we use "-" to divide the word into sounds which have meaning.

    So we've decided to use Mikuruma-gaeshi. We should have just followed Ron B's cue in posting #6 from April, 2007.

    Well, just to have the spellings we're not using in here so this posting comes up in searches, we're no longer using Mikurama-gaeshi, nor are we using Mikaruma-gaeshi. I'm going to change the spelling in the VCBF cherry scouts' postings so that our postings will be consistent with the Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver booklet soon to be printed for our scouts and anyone else who is interested, and that includes the spelling of this thread title. Fortunately, this isn't a very common cultivar in Vancouver.
     
  10. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Here are some Mikuruma-gaeshi leaf photos. They're from the tree on the right in the first photo.
     
  11. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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