Weekly Fun Facts: 5 things you should know about Sakura
March is here which means, it’s time for the much awaited cherry blossom season a.k.a the Sakura season! You must have seen breathtaking pictures of this season before, so here are some additional things you should know about Sakura!
1. Sakura belongs to a big family!
Sakura has over 600 species in Japan. There are endemic and hybrid species. Sakura goes through constant transformation in petals, size, color or fruit. This transformation is the reason behind hybrid species.
“Sakura petals falling from the trees, creating a “flower petal carpet” that makes the entire garden look white”
2. Take good care of it or it will rot.
Sakura rots very easily. If there are cuts on bark or roots, this beauty starts to decay. Once the decaying starts, its spreads to the whole tree and it dies. Special attention is needed while covering the tree during Hanami. If you want to keep them, look for those freshly-fallen petals. Plucking from the tree itself is not recommended, as it might destroy the tree
“Sakura is very fragile. Its petals fall off the tree easily. All it takes is rain or gentle wind, and it will fall”
3. Grandpa Sakura tree is 2000 years old.
Jindai Zakura (神代桜) is the oldest Sakura tree which is 2000 years old. Its root circumference is 13.5m. It can be viewed from the Jissou Temple (実相寺) in Yamanashi Prefecture.
“Some walkways are romantically lined with Sakura trees. Take a stroll and enjoy the beauty of impermanence”
4. Number of petals decide the flowers name.
Flowers are given name on the basis of how many petals it has. Flowers with 5 petals are called Hiteo. Flower which has petals ranging between 5-10 are called Hanyae. More than 10 petal flowers are known as Yae.
“The Yaezakura is another species of Sakura that looks different from the famous 5-petal Someiyoshino species. Look out for the interesting colors. Some trees may house different-colored flowers on one branch just like this!”
5. Who wants to taste Sakura? Well you can eat it as well!!
Yes!! Sakura is edible once it goes through a process called Shiozuke. In Shiozuke, leaves are soaked in salt, resulting in Sakurazuke. It has a very distinctive and unique smell.
“It is normal for Japan to have season-inspired products. You may find pink-colored Sakura-inspired Japanese sweets (Wagashi), Sakura-flavored Latte, Ice Cream, snacks and even Sakura-designed plates from the local 100-yen stores”