Nature on our doorsteps - Cherry blossom

Rosaleen Dwyer is the County Heritage Officer at South Dublin County Council. Each week Rosaleen gives us an insight into the natural heritage around us and the beautiful biodiversity of its plants and wildlife. 

April is the time of the year when our streets and parks are greatly enhanced by the lovely pinks and whites of Cherry blossom trees. 

This delightful display confirms once and for all that spring has truly arrived.

The pink of the Cherry trees contrasts well with the soft spring growth of neighbouring teees and grass

The pink of the Cherry trees contrasts well with the soft spring growth of neighbouring trees and grass.

There are many varieties of flowering Cherry and most of these have been bred from species that originated in Asia. 

These ornamental Cherry trees, however, do not produce the cherries that we like to eat. 

Ireland has only two native Cherries, Wild Cherry and Bird Cherry.  Neither of these is common and because our climate is not warm enough to produce sweet cherry fruit, it is our wild birds that benefit most from these sour tasting wild cherries.

The springtime flowering of the frothy pink and white ornamental Cherries is a cause for national celebration in Japan where the blossom is their national flower. 

The dense frothy clusters of Cherry blossom gladden the heart

The dense frothy clusters of Cherry blossom gladden the heart 

This celebration takes the form of the festival of ‘Hanami’ (cherry blossom-viewing). 

Every year, families and friends gather under the Cherry blossoms for feasting and music, appreciating the fleeting seasonal nature of the earth’s natural beauty.

Because of our unpredictable Irish weather in April, the blossom often doesn’t last long on the tree.

Within a week or so, the blossom falls and the tiny petals coat our streets and cars with ‘pink snow’.  

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