Japan’s Cherry Blossoms Burst Forth Months Too Early

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
October 18, 2018World News

Every spring Japan’s famous “sakura”—cherry blossoms—color the landscape fuchsia pink and delicate white as they burst forth from their buds.

People come from across Japan and around the world to see the explosions of color that paint the landscape. Tourists snap countless pictures. Weddings are planned to coincide with blossoming season.

And this year, in a bit of a surprise, Japan’s cherry blossoms are popping out in time for Halloween.

More than 350 people reported to Weathernews that they saw cherry trees blooming in the middle of October.

Tokyo resident Mikako Mori told Reuters, “I have been living in this area for over 50 years, but this is the first time I have heard (that it has blossomed earlier).”

People take photographs of a cherry tree in bloom
A cherry tree in bloom in Tokyo, Japan on April 2, 2017. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

Harsh Weather Yields Beautiful Benefit

Experts said the recent typhoons followed by a burst of warm weather fooled the trees.

Hiroyuki Wada, arborist for the Flower Association of Japan told local news outlet NHK “This has happened in the past, but I don’t remember seeing something of this scale,” The New York Times reported.

Wada said that cherry trees’ leaves release ascorbic acid, which acts as a plant hormone to prevent the trees from forming buds, Weathernews reported.

A woman looks towards cherry blossom trees
A woman looks at cherry blossom trees in Kameoka Yawaraginomichi Sakura Park in Kameoka, Japan on April 2, 2018. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

Japan was hit by two powerful typhoons in a row, Typhoon Trami and Typhoon Jebi. The two tropical storms swept across the island nation in close succession at the start of September. Jebi was the strongest typhoon to hit the island in 25 years.

The two storms stripped most of the leaves off the cherry trees, both with high winds and with salt spray carried from the ocean.

With that, and the warm temperatures that followed, the trees might have been fooled into thinking it was already spring.

A couple in a rowboat admires blooming cherry blossoms
A couple in a rowboat admires blooming cherry blossoms in Tokyo on April 4, 2016. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

Wada said that trees that blossomed in the fall would not be able to blossom again in the spring.

However, since the phenomenon of early blossoming is localized, Japan’s normal spring blossoming season should not be affected.

Cherry blossoms bloom on hillsides near Mount Yoshino
Cherry blossoms bloom on hillsides near Mount Yoshino in Yoshino, Japan, on April 3, 2018. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

“The buds that opened now won’t blossom in the coming spring,” Wada told the Jakarta Post. “But only a small number of them are being observed.

“I don’t think it will affect cherry blossom viewing (next year).”

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