SCI-NY: An Unexpected Encounter with a Cherry Plumb Tree During First Bloom.

It’s that time of the year again. When the city’s slumbering plant-life emerges the form of lovely little buds peeking out from anywhere branches can be found. Of course, Nature works at her own speed and some buds blossom sooner than others. That glitch in timing provided a pleasant surprise while walking my daughter home from school the other day. While all of the other trees in the neighborhood are still in their mid-winter bare-ness, a cherry plum tree was almost in full bloom. 

Cherry plum trees are a beautiful and beloved symbol of spring, and for good reason. These trees burst forth with delicate, fragrant blooms in shades of white, pink, and even deep magenta, signaling the end of winter and the start of a new season filled with growth and renewal.

One of the most stunning aspects of cherry plum trees is the sheer abundance of blossoms that appear on each tree. The first flowers of the cherry plum tree normally bloom in mid to late March, and continue to bloom for about 10-14 days. When in full bloom, the branches of these trees are weighed down with clusters of delicate flowers that seem to dance in the breeze. This profusion of blooms is not only visually stunning, but it also serves an important ecological purpose, providing a vital source of nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators.

The arrival of cherry plum blossoms is a highly anticipated event in many cultures, and they are celebrated in a variety of ways. In Japan, for example, the blooming of cherry blossoms (including cherry plum blossoms) is celebrated with hanami, a festival of flower viewing that draws large crowds to parks and gardens. In other parts of the world, cherry plum blossoms are a common sight in wedding bouquets, symbolizing the beauty and transience of life.

Of course, the beauty of cherry plum trees isn’t limited to their blooms alone. As the blossoms fall away, the trees begin to produce fruit, small plums that are often used to make jams, jellies, and other sweet treats. The fruit of cherry plum trees is also a valuable food source for wildlife, including birds and small mammals.

But it’s not just the cherry plum tree’s natural beauty that makes it so special. For many people, these trees are also a powerful reminder of the cyclical nature of life and the inevitability of change. Spring is a time of transition, a time when we say goodbye to the cold, dark days of winter and welcome the warmth and light of a new season. The cherry plum tree embodies this idea perfectly, with its delicate blooms representing the fleeting nature of life and the constant cycle of birth, growth, and decay.

Moreover, cherry plum trees are often planted in public spaces, lining streets and adorning parks and public gardens. These trees provide shade and beauty for people to enjoy, and they also play an important role in mitigating the effects of urban heat islands. They help to reduce air pollution and provide a habitat for wildlife, all while adding to the aesthetic appeal of our cities and towns.

The cherry plum tree is a beautiful and cherished symbol of spring, representing the start of a new season filled with growth, renewal, and hope. From their delicate blooms to their abundant fruit, these trees are a vital part of our natural world, providing beauty and sustenance for people and wildlife alike. More importantly, they provided my daughter and I wonderful preview of the splendor that will greet Gotham in just a few weeks.

WORDS: Marc Landas.

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