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The Art and Science of the UW Cherry Blossoms

March 27, 2014

The Quad's Cherry Blossoms [Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

The Quad’s Cherry Blossoms [Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

It’s finally that time of the year when our campus transforms into a pink flowery sensation – the blooming of the Yoshino cherry trees. Every year around the spring break Seattle residents and tourists from around the world all gather on the Quad to enjoy the view of the blossoming trees. The trees, each unique in its structure and beauty, complement the Gothic style buildings earning UW the rightful spot in the top 10 most beautiful college campuses in the country.

While the festive mood is still occupying the campus and we are waiting for the nature to fully embrace the spring and color the streets, let’s take a look at some fun facts about the gorgeous cherry trees.

  • The Yoshino Cherry is actually a hybrid tree created in Japan from Prunus speciosa (Oshima cherry) and P. subhirtella (spring cherry).
  • The planting of the flowering cherry tree, or “Sakura,” in the United States originated in 1912 when over 3,000 trees were presented as a gift to the People of the United States from the People of Japan.
  • The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 20 to April 13 commemorating the 1912 gift. The celebration honors friendship between the United States and Japan.
  • The tree’s life expectancy is 60 to 100 years. Sometime in the near future the current trees are going to have to be replaced. But no worries! UW has about thirty new trees in a nursery ready to be transplanted.
  • The Japanese Flowering Cherry is an important source of food for many small birds and mammals including robins, cardinals, and waxwings.
  • The Quad’s alley of Yoshino trees founds its home on campus after the relocation from the Washington Park Arboretum in the 1960s when the State Route 520 was built.
  • There are 31 cherry trees in the Quad.
  • The blooming time varies every year depending on the weather. Third week of March is usually when the trees are in full bloom. The colder it is the longer the flowers stay but usually they bloom for two to three weeks.
  • The Quad is not the only place where the cherry trees are located on campus. There are Kwansan cherry trees along the Rainier Vista and Hisakura cherry Trees just off Red Square.
  • To check out hundreds of pictures of iconic cherry blossoms check out this UW’s Facebook album!

The Quad's Cherry Blossoms [Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

The Quad’s Cherry Blossoms [Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

The Quad's Cherry Blossoms [Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

The Quad’s Cherry Blossoms[Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

The Quad's Cherry Blossoms [Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

Rainier Valley Cherry Blossoms [Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

The Quad's Cherry Blossoms [Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

The Quad’s Cherry Blossoms [Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

The Quad's Cherry Blossoms [Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

The Quad’s Cherry Blossoms [Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

The Quad's Cherry Blossoms [Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

The Quad’s Cherry Blossoms [Photo by Valeria Koulikova]

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