by Ewa Nowogorski
A symbol that spring has come, the plum blossom is often overshadowed by its similar cousin, the cherry blossom. It is unfortunate because these flowers bloom for as long as, if not longer, the cherry blossoms which they so closely resemble.
Plum blossoms bloom on the Japanese plum tree. These trees are loved for their small plums, the kind used for pickling and made into the famous pickled plum, or umeboshi. But even though the plums are highly appreciated, the blossoms on this tree don’t seem to enter the hearts and minds of people.
They look so similar to cherry blossoms that they often get mistaken for them as well. However, these flowers are the first to bloom in the beginning of spring, and their colors are often more vibrant. On the rare occasion that it snows during their blooming time, the sight of thousands of pink dots covering the trees amidst the snow is truly breath-taking.
Despite their similarities, there are some key differences between plum blossoms and cherry blossoms. First, the ends of the petals of the plum blossom are rounded, without a split in the middle. This is often the easiest way to distinguish the two flowers.
Secondly, plum blossoms produce only one flower per bud, while cherry blossoms produce multiple flowers per bud, giving them a fuller appearance.
Furthermore, plum blossoms have a much stronger aroma than cherry blossoms, which hardly give off any scent at all, even if you stick your nose right into the flower.
This is not to say that one type of flower is better than the other. It is just that it’d be nice if more people knew of the greatness of plum blossoms.