cherry tree

A cherry tree in blossom
in Lincoln's Inn fields.

The chery tree in Russell
Square.The colour of the
blossom varies from tree to tree.

cherry tree

Trees of London
Russell Square

Japanese Cherry Tree

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            Most cherry trees that are seen in Britain are Japanese cherry trees. They can be found in churchyards, lining the street, and in domestic and public gardens. They are particularly popular in residential areas in outer London.


     I'd like to die in spring
     Beneath the cherry trees
     In their bloom

     At that time in March,
     When in its glory shines
     the full moon.

                        Saigyou (1118-90)

              They are admired in Britain and in other countries where they have been planted, but it is Japan where they are appreciated the most. They are mentioned in Japanese poetry, and in the Japanese paintings, it is common to see a courting couple in a rowing boat looking up and admiring the blossom. Even to this day, Japanese families make special visits to the parks at the time of year when the trees are in blossom to have a picnics under their shadow. Predicting exactly when the trees will go into blossom is an expert science.

                  They are not the only fruit tree to have beautiful flowers, but they are the most consistent and because lots of varieties have been bred, the flowers come in different colours. For all that is said about this blossom though, it only remains for about two weeks in the year and only a few days at the height of its lustre.

                  It is not the blossom therefore that is the best way of identifying the cherry tree. This, I would say, falls to its bark, which is very distinctive. There is always a sort of shiny metallic quality to it, and it has thin rims running round it horizontally.

                    Pretty though they are, these are not the type of cherry trees that produce the fruit that we buy in the shops. These are called prunus serrulata; the ones that produce the fruit are prunus avium.

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Other Trees at Russell Square

yew      holm oak

holly     Scots elm

Russell square

Tree Identification

prunus serrulata:

leaf:alternate; veins: alternate; oval shaped, pointed.. cherry leaf

grow in pairs; like the cherries bought in shops but smaller..

cherry flower

Flowers: very striking in spring; colours vary.

cherry bark bark:
metallic like, shiny, with horizonal lines.
grows to 15 metres; round crown.
general: common in suburbs, churchyards, gardens. In central London, they are grown in the squares.

Russwll square map

From the north-west entrance,
beyond a tuft of grass,.
there is one right on the edge of the main section.
Marked black on map.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©