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."