The Cherry Orchard

Discussion in 'Vancouver Cherry Blog' started by Douglas Justice, Mar 31, 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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    (obviously, with apologies to Anton Chekhov)

    After two weeks of chilly temperatures (for Vancouver), I decided to get outside and look at the BC Landscape Plant Improvement Association (virus-free cherry) Orchard again. The BCLPIA site at UBC is windswept, or as windy as any place at UBC can be. Taking pictures here is always challenging. It’s close enough to Point Grey’s western escarpment that the cooling effects of the ocean breezes are keenly felt, especially in winter and early spring. As I’ve said before, plants at UBC are generally a week or more behind, compared with their kind almost anywhere else in Vancouver. It’s great to have an orchard filled with correctly named cultivars, but I always feel that I’m always playing catch-up with cherry identifications made elsewhere in the Lower Mainland. Nevertheless, I was able to get a few snaps this week and should report that the putative ‘Pandora’ I was raving about last week is definitely ‘Pandora’, and that ‘Okame’ from the week before is indeed ‘Okame’.

    The orchard itself sits in the middle of an open field, three long north-south tending rows on the west and five on the east. To be honest, the plantings don’t look like much. The trees are closely spaced in the rows and they’re grafted mostly on ‘Colt’ understock, which has a strong dwarfing influence. Imagine a ‘Kanzan’ no more than about ten feet tall. Hmmm, maybe we’ve got something here... The orchard was planted with cherries beginning in the mid 1970s. Most of the cultivars came from the East Malling Research Station in England and were virus-indexed and/or cleaned up (virus removed by heat treatment) at a facility run by the federal agriculture department (Agriculture Canada--now Canadian Food Inspection Agency) near Victoria, BC.

    When the orchard was functioning, BCLPIA member nurseries paid for scions that they harvested, and for periodic virus-indexing of the stock. As well, individuals from a number of local nurseries helped to maintain the trees by pruning for better scion production, for flower removal to reduce the incidence of pollen-borne virus transmission, and also by occasional weed control. Timely de-flowering and regular virus-indexing has fallen by the wayside, and scion harvesting has pretty much dried up. UBC Botanical Garden, the default stewards of the orchard, haven't adequate resources for its proper maintenance, and it remains to be seen what will happen to this area of the campus (housing development, in all probability).

    There is an interesting assortment of cultivars in the orchard, including both ‘Snowdrop’ and ‘Snofozam’ (Snow Fountains™), which seem indistinguishable to me, at least at the bud stage. Judging from the moderate incidence of brown rot on their stems, their red and slightly bulbous calyx tubes, red sepals and near glabrous pedicels, I could be convinced they were merely white weeping selections of P. pendula, though the stems do seem a bit beefier than a typical thread cherry.

    These cultivars, as well as ‘Spire’, ‘Somei-yoshino’, ‘Akebono’ ‘Shosar’, 'Rancho' (late!) and x schmittii look to be emerging in the next week or so. I noticed a few open flowers on one of 12 trees labelled ‘Beni-fugen’. According to Kuitert (Japanese Flowering Cherries), this is a synonym of ‘Daikoku’. I’d love this to be true, but I’m certain that it isn’t. ‘Daikoku’ is a late blooming cultivar much like an upright ‘Pink Perfection’. This tree has lax, slender stems and semi-double pink flowers. I might have taken it for an ‘Accolade’ except that the flowers weren’t sufficiently cupped and there was no evidence of earlier flowering. Even in this cold field, the ‘Accolade’ and ‘Whitcomb’ have been flowering for a month. Also of interest to me are the lovely flowering understocks of some of the dead and dying P. pendula and P. × subhirtella trees. I would guess that the understock is an easy rooter (assuming it's a clonal rootstock), like P. × subhirtella, but it's lighter pink and more delicate than 'Whitcomb'. I’m waiting for a dry, calm day to photograph all of these mysteries.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2008
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Wouldn't that one be Prunus x schmittii (P. avium x P. canescens)?

    Wait to study the leaves and fruits of 'Snofozam' before deciding it's definitely not a hybrid. I haven't heard of 'Snow Drop', maybe that's a Canadian name. 'White Fountain' has also been used down here, R. Prag of forestfarm nursery says (pers. comm.) it looks like 'Snofozam'. Funny how often there are multiple separate lookalike introductions claimed to be distinct cultivars by wholesale nurseries...

    I grew 'Colt' here for a short time, its flowers had a sort of curious melon fragrance.
     
  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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    Ron, you're always one step ahead of me. Yes, P. x schmittii. I do remember it at the nursery I worked at in the '80s. It had strangely coloured bark and the habit was weird. When I saw it today, it all came rushing back (except the correct spelling). It's all legs! I don't recall seeing it in flower, however, but with a cross like that, it should be interesting.

    Clearly, I should wait until these white weepers bloom. Prunus 'Snowdrop' is evidently a double. Interesting that I can only find it on one web site. More on this later.
     
  4. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Legs like these trees on Bayshore Drive near the Bayshore hotel? Or are these just the what-Vancouver-calls-Rancho, but not grafted? This apartment building is only a few years old. It's private property and fenced, but even so, those flowers start around the third floor - I can't get a closer photo.
     

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  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes: looks like Sargent cherry. The Schmitt hybrid cherry appears to be shown on the Kitsilano thread:

    >unknown tiny pink flowers on these columnar cherries<

    Think this is going to turn out to be the Prunus x schmittii D. Justice mentioned being in the UBC cherry orchard. See page 268, Eyewitness Handbooks - Trees by Allen J. Coombes (1992, Dorling Kindersley, New York) and Google Images for photos.

    The DK picture (same one as in Eyewitness Handbook appears when searching Google Images) of flowering sprig of the Schmitt cherry looks just like those of the mystery variety shown on the Kitsilano thread. Same hairy leaves, same wreathing of the twig by the flowers, same bulbous-looking ovaries, same petal shape and so on.
     
  6. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Douglas wrote that article March 31, 2008. Today, a year and a week later than last year, they're also waiting to emerge in the next week or maybe two weeks. I'm attaching some photos from what I'm assuming is the same area, part of the UBC Farm. I only found a very few labels. I was assured at the Farm that the public is welcome to come visit and walk around on Tuesday-Saturday 9am-5pm.

    These are 'Snowdrop'. Joseph Lin and I were wondering last year if that was the one we're still calling 'umbrella' in the West End, but it's clearly not, as these flowers are much smaller and more delicate-looking. The ones in the rows out in the field are not in bloom yet, but these near the entrance are. I didn't find any Snofozam labels.
    20090407_UBCFarm_Snowdrop_Cutler_3734.jpg 20090407_UBCFarm_Snowdrop_Cutler_3735.jpg 20090407_UBCFarm_Snowdrop_Cutler_3736.jpg 20090407_UBCFarm_Snowdrop_Cutler_3738.jpg

    I was surprised at the red bark on what I'm assuming is 'Whitcomb'. There are several of these in bloom here.
    20090407_UBCFarm_Whitcomb_Cutler_3729.jpg 20090407_UBCFarm_Whitcomb_Cutler_3730.jpg

    These 'Okame', with the Whitcombs, are the only cultivars in bloom in the rows of trees.
    20090407_UBCFarm_Okamae_Cutler_3733.jpg 20090407_UBCFarm_Okame_Cutler_3729.jpg

    I would have liked to see the 'Shosar' open.
    20090407_UBCFarm_Shosar_Cutler_3712.jpg 20090407_UBCFarm_Shosar_Cutler_3714.jpg

    There were a few of these young 'Autumnalis Rosea' trees. They're looking better than most of this cultivar around town, but not any more densely flowered.
    20090407_UBCFarm_AR_Cutler_3715.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    To check assumed identifications of these (or any others elsewhere) gather specimens from trees thought to be correctly identified and hold them up against the plants being checked, compare anatomical features. Often two examples will be immediately seen to be the same or different, and this outcome can be different from what was being thought to be the case up to the point the "twig test" was conducted.
     
  8. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Re: The Cherry Orchard - more photos

    Funny that the pink-blossomed tree Dingren asked about seems to be Shosar. I saw those not in flower last time I was at the UBC Farm and headed out there today because I wanted to see them open. It's not so easy for me to imagine that these will grow up to look like the trees in Richmond, but they do have an upright habit like those. These trees were labelled. I'd have easily mistaken them for plums if I'd driven by them on the street, except there aren't any dark leaves to tone down the brightness of the blossoms.
    20090417_UBCFarm_Shosar_Cutler_DSC02050.jpg 20090417_UBCFarm_Shosar_Cutler_DSC02053.jpg

    These next ones were not labelled, and I know I've said this before and not been right, but this time I'm sure they're the Pink Shell that Douglas wrote about.
    20090417_UBCFarm_PinkShell_Cutler_DSC02024.jpg 20090417_UBCFarm_PinkShell_Cutler_DSC02025.jpg 20090417_UBCFarm_PinkShell_Cutler_DSC02029.jpg

    The young Schmittii on the left tower over the Ranchos. The flowers are really teeny - around 2cm in diameter. Nice hairy leaves, eh?
    20090417_UBCFarm_SchmittRancho_Cutler_DSC02093.jpg 20090417_UBCFarm_Schmitt_Cutler_DSC02037.jpg 20090417_UBCFarm_Schmitt_Cutler_DSC02044.jpg
     
  9. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Re: The Cherry Orchard - more photos

    These young trees at the UBC Farm were labelled Okame. There are no hairs on the stems that I can see.
    20090417_UBCFarm_Okame_Cutler_DSC02096.jpg 20090417_UBCFarm_Okame_Cutler_DSC02097.jpg 20090417_UBCFarm_Okame_Cutler_DSC02098.jpg

    These unlabelled ones I thought were Okame, but they have no leaves out, whereas the ones above have leaves partly out (and there were others with leaves more fully out), and these have hairy stems.
    20090417_UBCFarm_OkameQ_Cutler_DSC02081.jpg 20090417_UBCFarm_OkameQ_Cutler_DSC02083.jpg
     
  10. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I'd been hoping to learn what these trees were when I visited two weeks ago, but now a name came up and I wonder if they're 'Snow Goose'. The Parks Board just planted several of that cultivar in Ceperley Meadows (in Stanley Park), but I don't think I'll see blossoms on them now till next year.
     

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  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  12. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Right! I just saw the 'Snow Goose' trees (Snow Gooses?) in Stanley Park and there are still a few blossoms. They're not tiny, but they're very small - 2.5cm (as shown in this photo). So the farm trees are not that. Now I'm back to wondering if the farm trees are Sargentii, which I still can't manage to learn to recognize. I must have thought they were sticky at the time, but we scouts seem to find a lot of things sticky. I have posted Snow Goose in Cultivar IDs.
     

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    Last edited: May 5, 2009
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I also thought the others looked like Sargent cherries. If you can get back there in time, touch the bud scales to see if they are sticky.

    So, some in the orchard have labels and some don't? There is no planting list or map now known?
     
  14. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Well, Kuitert really says 'Daikoku' was called 'Beni-fugen' or 'Ko-fugen' at one time, and says under the Prunus 'Daikoku' heading
    Less current synonyms: (not Ko-fugen, not Beni-fugen).

    There is a map(!), which I've recently obtained from Douglas, and I think the trees are the ones marked on the map as 'Pandora'. I was at the farm with Douglas this morning, and he says that ID is correct. There are two shorter rows not marked at all on the map, however, including the Okames I mentioned in post #9.
     

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