1. Cherry blossom
A cherry blossom is a flower of many trees of genus Prunus that generally refer to ornamental cherry trees, not to edible ones.
Cherry Blossom in Japan
Sakura, cherry blossom, is the national flower of Japan. In Japan, cherry blossoms symbolize clouds due to their nature of blooming en masse, besides being an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life.
Most Japanese schools and public buildings have cherry blossom trees outside of them. Since the fiscal and school year both begin in April, the first day of work or school coincides with the beginning of the cherry blossom season. The Japan Cherry Blossom Association developed a list of Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots with at least one location in every prefecture.
Cherry Blossom in Tokyo
Japan is famous all over the world for its sakura, or cherry blossom, season. In early spring, thousands of trees across Japan burst forth in shades of red, pink, and white blooms.
Locals and tourists flock to Japan during the cherry blossom season. Tokyo is a prime viewing location due to its abundant parks and green spaces.
The cherry blossom season in Tokyo typically peaks from late March to early April. Over the past ten years, the first blooms have occurred between March 20 and March 28. Full bloom usually peaks between March 27 and April 6.
Here is a list of some of Central Tokyo’s most popular spots for cherry blossom viewing:
- Shinjuku Gyoen features more than 1000 cherry trees of over a dozen varieties, including numerous early and late blooming trees. There are spacious lawn areas, and the atmosphere is calm and peaceful.
- Ueno Park: One of Japan’s most crowded, lively and popular spots for cherry blossom parties, Ueno Park features more than 1000 trees along the street leading towards the National Museum and around Shinobazu Pond.
- Chidorigafuchi: Hundreds of cherry trees decorate the moats of former Edo Castle, creating one of Tokyo’s most outstanding cherry blossom sights. Boats are available for rent, but picnics are not allowed.
- Meguro River: About 800 cherry trees line Meguro River for several hundred meters and create an amazing sight.
Sakura Tunnel in Izu Highland
The highland is also one of the most popular spots for cherry blossom viewing. Every year in spring, 600 cherry trees bloom along both sides of the road creating the famous 3 km long Sakura Tunnel.
Various kinds of cherry blossoms can be seen in Izu Highland and some of them start blooming in mid-March. The best viewing time for this cherry blossom tunnel is from late March to early April.
There are plenty of different dishes to try while taking a walk and enjoying the blossoms. There are also spectacular night blossom illuminations after dark.
Sakura in Tohoku Region (Northern Japan)
Tohoku Region is one of the most underrated, yet the most attractive areas in Japan for cherry blossom viewing. Known as Nicchu Line, it is one of the most popular cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan, which is located in Kitakata City.
The dynamite landscape and traditional countryside scenery create some of the most outstanding views of cherry blossoms during the spring. Viewing cherry blossoms in Tohoku Region is also recommended for those who miss out the blooming season in other parts of Japan as they start flourishing 2-3 weeks later because of the low temperature. The cherry blossoms in Tohoku Region usually starts early to mid-April, and can be enjoyed till the end of April in some places.
Cherry Blossom Tunnel, Bonn, Germany
Although most people think of Japan when they hear the words “cherry blossom”, you’ll find impressive pink blossoms all over the world. Some of the most picturesque and romantic blooms can be found on Heerstrasse, also known as the Cherry Blossom Avenue in Bonn, Germany. With its narrow cobblestone streets and picturesque buildings, this part of the city is very charming even without the grand floral display, but the thousands of cherry trees lining the alleys add an extra dash of whimsical beauty.
Every spring, in the old town of Bonn, the cherry blossoms create stunning pink vaulted passages. There are a number of cherry blossom tunneled streets that explode with colour sometime in April for 7-10 days, depending on the weather.
The ornamental Japanese Cherry Blossoms were first planted in the 1980s and they have become a major attraction for the historic city. Those beautiful pink boughs spreading over old cobblestone streets … And if you stop to take a few photos along the way, you won’t be the first one to do so.
Cherry Blossom in Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia, is famous for its thousands of cherry trees (estimated 50,000) lining many streets and in many parks.
Every year, Vancouver holds the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. With multiple varieties and a temperate climate, they begin to bloom in February yearly and peak in April. The Festival takes place in April most years and features a Japan Fair and other blossom-themed events. In 2021 it celebrates its 15th anniversary.
Best places to view cherry blossoms in Vancouver
Vancouver’s many parks and gardens are ideal showcases for the beloved trees, but there are also a number of urban places to view these pink and white beauties.
- Queen Elizabeth Park touts several varieties of cherry trees, which bloom at different intervals from early March to late April
- Stanley Park also has rows of blossoming trees near the formal rose garden and the Japanese Canadian WWI war memorial
- VanDusen Botanical Garden boasts more than 100 cherry trees, representing 24 varieties.
- For a truly peaceful (and cultural) experience, make sure to visit the Nitobe Memorial Garden, where you’ll find colourful cherry trees in a traditional Japanese garden setting.
- Walk beneath a canopy of blooms at the downtown Burrard SkyTrain station, around Vancouver’s City Hall at West 12th and Cambie, and along Yew Street in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood
“This is why I live here!” exclaims many a Vancouverites during cherry blossom season. Each spring, as the rainy season fades, city dwellers pack their sweaters away and are rewarded with one of the world’s most cheerful sites: 50,000 cherry trees bursting with pink and white blooms.
2. Horse-chestnut trees in Kyiv, Ukraine
Before you start dreaming about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, let us remind you that these ones are inedible; Kyiv’s chestnuts trees are of the horse-chestnut variety, a source of visual rather than culinary pleasure.
Native to the Balkan mixed forests of South East Europe, the horse-chestnut tree or kashtan, Aeculus hippocastanum, is one of the symbols of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. Although horse-chestnuts are prized as cultivated trees for parks and streets throughout Ukraine, they are a prominent feature of its capital city, which is called the city of chestnuts. Prior to the independence of Ukraine, these white and pink flowers and leaves were depicted on the city’s coat of arms, but these were replaced by a representation of the protector of the city, the Archangel Michael.
Growing to a height of 39m, these spectacular trees have a domed crown and stout branches, creating a huge umbrella of shade in the summer months. The leaves consist of five to seven leaflets which change from light to dark green as they grow, and transform into a breathtaking array of gold, copper and bronze as they die off in winter and fall to the ground.
The sweetly-scented white-pink flowers produced in spring consist of panicles with between twenty and fifty flowers on each. The Kyiv chestnuts bloom in April.
Being a stunning ornamental plant and a close relative of an ordinary pea, wisteria is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family, Fabaceae, that includes ten species of woody climbing bines (twining vines). Wisteria is native to China, Korea, Japan, and the Eastern United States.
Wisteria in Japan
Wisteria is called fuji in Japanese. Like the mountain that bears a similar name, this flower is much beloved by the Japanese people. A relative of the pea, this ornamental vine can be trained to grow into fabulous shapes.
Nothing rivals the beauty of a wisteria arbour in full bloom. It’s a surreal and stunning beauty. The flower clusters hang down for the tip of the plant’s long vines and sway beautifully in the wind.
Wisteria is the queen of garden vines and is widely used to decorate the site and buildings. Appearing before the leaves in late spring to early summer, wisteria blooms repeatedly during the whole summer.
Every spring, the Japanese celebrate Fuji Matsuri (or Wisteria Festival) in Tokyo, Shizouka, and Okazaki. Ashikaga Flower Park has the largest number of wisteria varieties.
Giant wisteria tree and wisteria tunnels in the Ashikaga Flower Park
World’s biggest wisteria tree
The Ashikaga Flower Park first opened in 1968 under the name “Hayakawa Farm.” In 1997, it was relocated and now spans 94,000 sq. m.
During that relocation, something unthinkable happened. A 130-year-old wisteria tree was uprooted and transplanted in the new location. Now over 150 years old, this Great Wisteria still stands and symbolizes the park itself. Spanning over 1,000 square meters, this tree was designated as a national monument by the Tochigi Prefecture. It was also named one of the “Top 10 World Dream Destinations” in 2014, and CNN has compared it to the fictional Tree of Souls featured in the 2009 film Avatar.
Two wisteria tunnels
In addition to this amazing natural wonder, you can experience two stunning tunnels: an 80-metre tunnel of white wisteria and the other one of the wisteria-like yellow Kibana.
Walking through the wisteria tunnel, you can feel like a real royalty. Wisteria flowers, hanging in bunches like grapes, begin to bloom as soon as the cherry blossoms have faded.
In the Ashikaga Flower Park, you can enjoy more than 350 wisteria trees in full bloom. These trees bloom in stages – first the pale red, then the purple, white, and yellow, allowing visitors to have different experiences throughout the festival.
The flowers are also illuminated at night, providing a truly overwhelming experience. The reflection of the illuminated flowers on the pond there is also perfect for photography.
Wisteria tunnels in the Kawachi Wisteria Garden
The Kawachi Fuji Garden is a private garden in the city of Kitakyushu, about 6 hours from Tokyo. While the garden is beautiful by itself, it’s best known for its tunnel of wisteria flowers. When the flowers are in full bloom around April and May, the experience of walking through the tunnel is like walking through a fairy tale.
Kawachi Wisteria Garden was opened in April 1977. From late April to mid-May, 22 kinds of wisteria flowers are in full bloom, overwhelming the viewer.
There are two majestic wisteria tunnels: a 110-metre wisteria tunnel and an 80-meter wisteria tunnel
The history of Kawachi Wisteria began with a boy’s dream that the founder, Masao Higuchi, who was impressed by the book he read when he was in elementary school and wanted to leave a proof that he lived in this world. When the right time came, he confessed to his family that he wanted to plant a beautiful wisteria create a wisteria garden that everyone could come to see. His family agreed, and in 1968 he began cultivating with his eldest son.
It has been 50 years since the land was cleared. The tree that started at “Kawachi Wisteria Garden” has grown to Ofuji, which is over 120 years old, and every year, beautiful flower clusters are fluttering and the visitors are pleased. Please enjoy the wisteria that has been cultivated with deep love inherited from the first generation.
Named after French botanist Pierre Magnol, magnolia is a large genus of about 210 flowering plant species. Magnolia is an ancient genus. Appearing before bees did, the flowers are theorized to have evolved to encourage pollination by beetles. To avoid damage from pollinating beetles, the carpels of Magnolia flowers are extremely tough. Fossilized specimens of M. acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae date to 95 million years ago.
Magnolia blooms at the exact same time that the cherry blossoms bloom. Two main differences are that magnolia petals are much larger than cherry blossoms and the magnolia also have a strong fragrance where cherry blossoms don’t have any fragrance. So you can literally stop and smell the magnolia this spring!
Magnolia blossom in China
White or Yulan magnolia is the official flower of the Chinese metropolis Shanghai. With the arrival of spring warmth in Fenghuangdou Landscape Park, East China, a massive bloom of Magnolia denudata began.
Magnolia blossom in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
During a couple of weeks in spring, make a 2-hour drive from Toronto to Niagara Falls to visit the stunning Magnolia Alley. If you head to the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse you’ll find the overwhelming Magnolia Alley. You can walk through a stunning pathway that is lined with the bright pink magnolia trees at their peak.
Magnolia blossom in the USA
Every spring, you can find gorgeous blooming magnolia flowers everywhere in the USA. Streets and parks overflowing with magnolia and cherry blossoms make people insanely happy during this time of year.
- Magnolia grandiflora is the official state flower of both Mississippi and Louisiana. The flower’s abundance in Mississippi is reflected in its nickname of “Magnolia State” and the state flag. The magnolia is also the official state tree of Mississippi.
- One of the many nicknames for the city of Houston is “Magnolia City”. Historically, magnolias have been associated with the Southern United States.
- When the saucer magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, DC, are in full bloom they look so stunning that take your breath away. It’s the most impressive view of this beautiful flowering tree.
5. Jacaranda tunnels
Jacaranda, Jacaranda mimosifolia, is a sub-tropical tree native to south-central South America that has been widely planted elsewhere because of its attractive and long-lasting violet-blue-coloured flowers. In its native range in the wild, jacaranda is considered vulnerable.
The tree grows to a height of up to 20 m. The flowers are up to 5 cm long, and are grouped in 30 cm panicles. They appear in spring and early summer, and last for up to two months.
The blue or violet jacaranda has been cultivated in almost every part of the world where there is no risk of frost. Here are the most spectacular places:
Purple Tunnels in Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa
Johannesburg is home to a man-made forest of over 10 million trees. In October, when the trees are in bloom, the ground is covered with blue and purple petals.
A hundred years ago, Jacaranda was brought to Africa from Uruguay, Brazil, Peru and Argentina, and today in Johannesburg and Pretoria you can find about 50 of its varieties. The violet tree blooms in October, at this time thousands of buds of an amazing shade bloom, turning the city alleys into purple tunnels.
Jacaranda Alleys, Grafton, Australia
In the city of Grafton, jacarandas usually blossom in late spring from around October to early November letting people know that everything is going to be okay. The Jacaranda Season is an opportunity to connect with a sense of wonder – seeing the trees do their purple freeze-frame fireworks display. The blue or violet tree-lined streets look like something out of an impressionist painting. Just glancing up and seeing the sky through a curtain of purple blooms – there’s nothing like these moments to plug us into a sense of gratitude for the here and now.
Jacaranda in the Mexico City, Mexico
Every year, the bluish-purple flowers grace the city streets. The warm weather in February gave one Mexico City spring tradition a head start. The jacaranda trees are already in full bloom, their bright purple blossoms filling their leafless branches like something out of a magazine cover. A stroll down the famous Paseo de la Reforma Avenue is an essential start on the jacaranda spectacle in the city.
Found in varied habitats from subtropical forest to alpine shrubs, rhododendrons range from dwarf shrubs to large trees. Rhododendron is a very large genus of 1,024 species of woody plants in the heath family (Ericaceae), either evergreen or deciduous, and found mainly in Asia, although it is also widespread throughout the world. Most species have brightly coloured flowers which bloom from late winter through to early summer.
The world’s tallest rhododendron tree was discovered in 1993 at Mount Japfu in Kohima district of Nagaland, India. It holds the Guinness Record for the rhododendron at 33m measured at the time of discovery and is still growing. Its name means “tending to be woody or growing in a tree-like form”.
In India it is the state tree of Uttarakhand and the state flower of Nagaland.
What is the difference between rhododendron and azalea?
It should be noted that there is no clear distinction between the two cultures, the difference between azalea and rhododendron is in some aspects. The most important distinguishing feature is the stamens, the azalea flowers have about 5 stamens, and the rhododendron has 10 or more.
Rhododendron forest in Nepal
In Nepal, rhododendron is known as Gurans; it is indigenous to the High Himalayas, and is also the national flower of Nepal. According to experts, Nepal is home to 33 species of rhododendron.
It is particularly stunning to trek at high elevation through a blooming rhododendron forest: the gnarled branches covered in moss topped with shiny evergreen leaves and large, showy flowers are truly a sight you’ll not easily forget. Many Rhododendron species bloom from March through early May.
At this time, rhododendron forests bloom in the Himalayas – an indescribable sight. The jungle is covered with bright red and hot pink flowers, birds are singing and streams murmur. And all this in order to convince you to come and see the spring in the Himalayas with your own eyes.
7. Laburnum – golden rain tree
A distant pea relative, laburnum, sometimes called golden chain or golden rain, is a genus of two species of small trees: common laburnum and alpine laburnum. They are native to the mountains of southern Europe from France to the Balkans.
Laburnum Arch, Conway, Wales, UK
The 140-year-old Laburnum Arch is a fleeting phenomenon. It only lasts for a few weeks, usually in late May or early June. Every spring, the mesmerizing golden flowers burst from the branches of the laburnum tree, draping downward to creating a tunnel capped by a lush ceiling of blossoms. Tis 50m-long breathtaking flower tunnel bursting with beautiful golden blossoms blooms within a Welsh botanic garden, which is said to be the longest in the United Kingdom. It was planned by Henry Davis Pochin, the man who created the Bodnant Garden in 1875, and has been enchanting those who pass beneath the ceiling of dangling flowers ever since. Its fallen petals pepper the floor to create a walkway dotted with bright, sunshine-coloured spots.
The Laburnum Arbor, Langley, WA, USA
This stunning display of golden flowers appears every late spring. It is especially beautiful in the evening when the low-hanging sun casts its rays through the fragrant draping blossoms. It was created nearly20 years ago by Maureen Murphy, owner of Bayview Farm and Garden. It didn’t look like much those first few years but gradually, as the trees grew and the branches were lovingly and dutifully pruned and trained by the committed members of the BFG staff, the Laburnum Arbor has taken on a life of its own.
Delonix regia – “Flame tree”
Relative to an ordinary pea, Delonix regia is a species of flowering tree in the bean family Fabaceae, native to Madagascar. It is noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of brite-orange-red flowers over summer. In many tropical parts of the world it is grown as an ornamental tree and in English it is given the name royal poinciana, flamboyant, flame of the forest, or flame tree.
Delonix regia is endemic to the Madagascar’s dry deciduous forests, but has been introduced into tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide. In the wild it is endangered, but it is widely cultivated elsewhere and is regarded as naturalised in many of the locations where it is grown
Delonix regia’s legends
- There is a popular belief among Saint Thomas Christians of Kerala, India, that when Jesus was crucified, there was a small royal Poinciana tree nearby his Cross. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed over the flowers of the tree and this is how the flowers got a sharp red colour.
- In Vietnam, Delonix is a popular urban tree. Its flowering season is May–July, which coincides with the end of the school year in Vietnam. Because of this timing, the flower of Poinciana is sometimes called the “pupil’s flower”.
By the way, the song “Poinciana” was inspired by the presence of Delonix regia in Cuba.
Delonix regia on Tenerife
The royal Poinciana blooms on Tenerife, a flame tree, one of the most beautiful and spectacularly blooming trees, whose homeland is the island of Madagascar.
Royal Poinciana in Tel Aviv, Israel
Such a spectacular profusion of poinciana trees is the Israel’s answer to Japan’s Cherry Blossom Season. The poinciana is not very picky. It blooms on the street, in the garden, in the park, in the most modest housing project and the fanciest neighbourhoods, in the suburbs, parking lots and forgotten alleyways, providing some brief moments of urban delight.This red flower miracle has become a global tourist attraction.
Delonix regia in Zimbabwe
November is the month when the streets of Harare turn from royal purple to regal red, as Delonix regia, with its flamboyant display of magnificent orangey-red flowers, comes into bloom.
In addition to its ornamental value, because it usually grows to about 5m (max. 12m) and spreads widely, it is also a useful shade tree, its dense foliage providing full shade. In areas with a marked dry season, it sheds its leaves during the dry period, but in wetter areas it is virtually evergreen.
The flowers of Delonix regia in Zimbabwe appear in late October to December. They grow in corymbs along and at the ends of branches. They are large, with four spreading scarlet or orange-red petals up to 8 cm long and a fifth upright slightly larger standard petal that is spotted with yellow and white.
9. Mimosa – Acacia dealbata
Acacia dealbata, the silver wattle, blue wattle or mimosa, is a species of flowering plant in the legume family. There are about 700 to 800 species of Acacia, mostly from tropical regions, but the most commonly grown species, including Acacia dealbata, are native to Australia. It’s widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in warm temperate regions of the world, and is naturalised in some areas, including Sochi (Black Sea coast of Russia), Norfolk Island, the Mediterranean region from Portugal to Greece and Morocco to Israel, Yalta (Crimea, Russia), California, Madagascar, southern Africa (South Africa, Zimbabwe), the highlands of southern India, south-western China and Chile.
This attractive evergreen tree can grow to a height of 6m, with a spread of 5m, and has a very fast growth rate of 25 – 50cm or more per year, but a relatively short lifespan of 20 – 30 years.
The mimosa tree is very showy. The bark is smooth and silvery gray. The feathery leaves are finely divided, and grow to 3cm long, with numerous small leaflets. Its fragrant yellow flowers, which bloom in late winter to early spring, are borne in dense, fluffy clusters of golden yellow balls that are 0.6cm in diameter.
Mimosa flowers and tip shoots are harvested for use as cut flowers, when it is known by the florist trade as “mimosa” (not to be confused with the genus of plants called Mimosa). In Italy, Albania, Russia and Georgia the flowers are also frequently given to women on March 8, the International Women’s Day.
10. Cotton tree – Bombax ceiba
Bombax ceiba, like other trees of the genus Bombax, is commonly known as cotton tree. More specifically, it is sometimes called as Malabar silk-cotton tree, or red silk-cotton, or red cotton tree, or kapok.
This Asian tropical tree has a straight tall trunk and its leaves are deciduous in winter. Bombax ceiba grows to an average of 20 meters, with old trees up to 60 meters in wet tropical regions. The trunk and limb bear numerous conical spines particularly when young, but get eroded when older. Red flowers with 5 petals appear in the spring before the new foliage. It produces a capsule which, when ripe, contains white fibres like cotton. Its trunk bears spikes to deter attacks by animals. Although its stout trunk suggests that it is good for timber, its wood is too soft to be very useful.
Cotton tree flowers in blossom in Guangzhou City, China
Bombax ceiba is literally known as “cotton-tree flowers” in Cantonese. It plays a vital role in Southern Chinese, especially Cantonese, culture. It is the official flower of the city of Guangzhou in southern China. The flower was also used as the trademark of the Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines.
With some trees flowering from late February to early May, the fruiting can start as early as March. Both the flower and the leaves form in late autumn and stay hidden in the branch buds until the weather is warm enough in spring to make an appearance. But the flame-like flowers can appear earlier, given the leaves’ need for higher temperatures to sprout.
At the peak of its flowering season, elderly people may often be seen gathering the fallen flowers from the ground to dry, which they later use to prepare tea or soup.
Cotton tree (kapok) flowers on Linchupi Kapok Road, Tainan City, Taiwan
This prize-winning photograph by Taiwanese Tzeng Chin-fa shows the Kapok trees in Tainan, southern Taiwan. Titled “Kapok Road Tunnel,” it recently won a bronze medal at the 2019 Tokyo International Photo Awards.
The fiery coloured kapok blossom filling the entire street is particularly eye-catching, and the road was chosen as one of the 15 most beautiful flower streets in the world. Walking down the Kapok Road can sometimes lead to a “surprising” and interesting experience as kapok cannonballs fall from the trees. While they are not that hard, a direct hit on the head can hurt a little, but as it is such a rare occurrence, being hit by one is seen as a lucky thing! The Kapok Road is only just about the width of two cars, so do not park your car on the road, otherwise you will be stared at by lots of people. In this kind of setting, the right of way is still given to farming vehicles.
We really hope that you’ve enjoyed the article.