Cherry Blossoms

April 06, 2001


Provided by: NASA/GSFC Landsat Program
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

As seen from the above photo, it looks like the cherry blossoms in Washington D. C. are nearing their peak bloom. The Japanese Yoshino cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial in our Nation's Capital are a little late in blooming this year. Unlike most other cherry trees, the Yoshino trees bloom for less than a week and don't bear fruit. Since the original cherry trees were planted as a gift from Japan in 1912, they've bloomed as early as March 15 (1990) and as late as April 18 (1958). On average the peak bloom is about April 4, but last year, the peak was on March 17. The bloom is said to be at "peak" when the Yoshino blossoms are approximately 70% open. The amount of daylight, precipitation and especially the temperature are all important ingredients that affect when the cherry blossoms bloom. This past March, the temperature was more than 3 degrees F below normal in the Washington D.C. area, and for the last two weeks, the temperatures have been continuously below normal, and so, it's not surprising that the blossoms are late arriving this year.

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