Identification: Sargentii (o-yama-zakura) - mid-season, pinky-white, upright, bronze leaves

Discussion in 'Ornamental Cherries' started by Douglas Justice, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. Douglas Justice

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

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    I received a question about Sargent cherry from Joseph Lin the other day.


    Have you checked the "Rancho" cherry?
    Why is it called "Rancho", any special meaning?
    Is the Sargentii called "big mountain cherry" in Japan?

    I looked at the pink, upright cherries on Davie Street with Wendy Cutler. They are, without any doubt, 'Rancho' or another upright selection of Prunus sargentii. The combination of sticky bud scales, narrow, notched, pink petals and single flowers in umbels indicates P. sargentii.

    Unfortunately, we can't know for sure if they're 'Rancho' without the assurance of the Bill Stephen (who could look them up, presumably). [Bill has now done this and assures me they were purchased as 'Rancho'] The trouble is, there are two other upright cultivars of P. sargentii in commerce. I've never knowingly seen 'Columnaris', and I couldn't say if it's common, but at UBC, we have a cultivar called 'Sir Edwin Muller', which looks (superficially at least—I've never compared them), exactly like 'Rancho'.

    According to Jacobson (North American Landscape Trees, Ten-Speed Press, 1996), there's little, perhaps nothing, to differentiate 'Columnaris' from 'Rancho'. He writes that 'Sir Edwin Muller' produces its flowers well before the leaves, but I don't trust that as a good character. I think it depends on the weather. [Looking at the 'Rancho' specimens on Granville (7th to 12th), I observed considerable variation between trees. I expect they differ because of exposure and health.] We (UBC) have at least three seedlings grown from wild-collected P. sargentii seed (from Hokkaido, Japan) that are every bit as narrow as 'Rancho'. However, none of the UBC plants is flowering yet, as it's still too cool on the Point.

    I can't find any reference to the name 'Rancho', but Jacobson writes that it was introduced by Scanlon Nursery of Ohio. I'll see if I can dig anything up on the name from some of my eastern American nursery friends. In the meantime, I suggest you find a Chinese translation of "columnaris" (like a column) instead of 'Rancho'. This year, I'll compare all of our P. sargentii seedlings with all of the cultivars I can find.

    As for using the name "big mountain cherry," I think this translation is a bit awkward, and I doubt it would be popular with Westerners, who are probably more comfortable with "Sargent cherry."
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  3. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Sargentii - mid-season, pinky-white, upright, bronze leaves

    There's a reason why I haven't posted Prunus sargentii here. It's because I don't get it, but I can post some that are marked as Sargentii at UBC Botanical Garden. Douglas Justice's book on Ornamental Cherries describes it as having "strongly spreading branches eventually forming broad, rounded crown". And for leaves: "emerge reddish brown mostly after flowers have opened" and "back is distinctly whitish green". Bud scales are supposed to be "sticky to the touch when expanding". The flower colour is supposed to be "bright pink to salmon pink" but one of the trees in the garden has white flowers.

    This Sargentii tree is really three trees grown from separate seeds (seedlings? I forget exactly what Douglas said) obtained from Japan. The left tree has white blossoms, the right one has pink blossoms, and I forget which the middle one has.
    20090415_UBCBG_Sargent_Cutler_DSC01907.jpg 20090415_UBCBG_Sargent_Cutler_DSC01864.jpg 20090415_UBCBG_Sargent_Cutler_DSC01908.jpg 20090415_UBCBG_Sargent_Cutler_DSC01861.jpg 20090415_UBCBG_Sargent_Cutler_DSC01863.jpg

    This Prunus Sargentii 'Sir Edwan Muller' tree is all the way at the end of the garden, past the alpine garden. It has about a hundred seedlings or suckers at its base. It also has serrated sepals, though our book says Sargentii should be without marginal teeth on their sepals. I suppose a cultivar can be different in that respect?
    20090415_UBCBG_SargentMuller_Cutler_DSC01886.jpg 20090415_UBCBG_SargentMuller_Cutler_DSC01892.jpg 20090415_UBCBG_SargentMuller_Cutler_DSC01893.jpg 20090415_UBCBG_SargentMuller_Cutler_DSC01900.jpg 20090415_UBCBG_SargentiiMuller_Cutler_DSC01861.jpg
     
  4. 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: Sargentii - mid-season, pinky-white, upright, bronze leaves

    I've been interested in figuring out the mystery tree at 8th and Arbutus for a long time. This year, I happened upon it when it was in full bloom, and when the gate was open, so I invited myself in to have a closer look (image below, left, from outside fence). It led me to exactly the same conclusions as Mariko.

    Sargent cherries clearly deserve a closer look. Those that Wendy describes at UBC are from a US National Arboretum expedition to Hokkaido, Japan (1981, I believe). The variation among individual seedlings in petal size, shape and colour, as well as in crown shape, is significant.

    The upright cultivar, 'Sir Edwin Muller' (which is growing on its own roots) has flowers with broader petals, that are somewhat lighter in colour (image below, right) than those of 'Rancho'. Both cultivars are prone to brown rot, especially in the humid conditions at UBC. I wonder if their branch architecture predisposes them to increased infection. 'Sir Edwin Muller' produces flowers at the same time as 'Rancho' and the other early Sargent cherries, but it tends to flower before the leaves emerge (which is not typical—I believe Jacobson mentions this). We have a few P. sargentii wild collections that are still waiting around to bloom.
     

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  5. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Re: Sargentii - mid-season, pinky-white, upright, bronze leaves

    I have it on hearsay that 'Sir Edwan Muller' is gone now, making room for some fancy development in the garden.

    Sheila Petrie has sent along photos of the leaves from the other UBCBG P. sargentii. I posted both trees in posting #3.
     

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  6. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Re: Sargentii - mid-season, pinky-white, upright, bronze leaves

    First some housekeeping:
    The mystery tree in Douglas Justice's April 18, 2009 posting, at 8th and Arbutus, has been determined to be 'Colt'.
    And we're calling Prunus sargentii o-yama-zakura on the festival website and map.

    Douglas has mentioned how much variation in appearance this species can have. These are the trees outside the garden fence on Marine Drive. I understand them to all be sargentii, but they look totally different. Just when I'd decided that a characteristic of sargentii is the angular, not rounded narrow petals, as seen in the first two photos,
    20120410_MarineDrUBCBG_Sargentii_Cutler_P1200823.jpg 20120410_MarineDrUBCBG_Sargentii_Cutler_P1200828.jpg

    then show up the trees just a short distance from the first one, looking very pink in the tree photo, but having smaller white blossoms with very rounded petals.
    20120410_MarineDrUBCBG_whiteSargentii_Cutler_P1200829.jpg 20120410_MarineDrUBCBG_whiteSargentii_Cutler_P1200833.jpg

    This tree across the street from the others to me is clearly 'Rancho'. I decided it's because of the thick limbs and flowers less evenly spread out on the branches. Or maybe it's just that it's grafted, so clearly a cultivar.
    20120410_MarineDr16th_Rancho_Cutler_P1200835.jpg 20120410_MarineDr16th_Rancho_Cutler_P1200836.jpg 20120410_MarineDr16th_Rancho_Cutler_P1200837.jpg
     
  7. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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