Cherry Blossoms of Washington, D.C.

by Mark D. Hughes photos by Carol M. Highsmith

Carol Highsmith, a distinguished and widely published American photographer, is donating her life's work to the Library of Congress. The Carol M. Highsmith archive at the Library of Congress includes photos from all over the United States. Find more Carol Highsmith photos on PhotographsAmerica.com.

Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki gave the city of Washington, D.C., a gift of 3,000 cherry trees in 1912 to recognize the friendship between Japan and the United States. The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates this occasion. Pictured is the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C.
Image by Carol M. Highsmith
First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted the first two trees in 1912.
Two varieties of cherry tree have become predominant since 1912, the Yoshino Cherry and the Kwanzan Cherry. Single white blossoms distinguish the Yoshino Cherry, while double blossoms of almost clear pink are produced by the Kwanzan Cherry.
Image by Carol M. Highsmith
The cherry trees bloom each year from late March to early April. The earliest recorded blooming date was March 15, 1990. The latest recorded date was April 18, 1958.
Four cherry trees were vandalized on December 11, 1941. It was speculated that the trees were cut down in retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Hoping to prevent future vandalism, the trees were renamed "Oriental" flowering cherries for the duration of World War II.
First Lady "Lady Bird" Johnson accepted an additional 3,800 trees in 1965.
Cuttings from a famous 1,500-year-old Japanese cherry tree in Gifu Province, Japan, were planted in 1999 in the Tidal Basin.
In addition to the Yoshino and Kwanzan Cherry trees, other varieties can also be found around DC. They include: Akebono, Weeping Japanese, Takesimensis, Usuzumi, Okame, Shirofugen, Fugenzo, Sargent, and Autumn Flowering Cherry.
Prev Next

Related Links

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Did you know?
Redwoods, descendants of the giant evergreen trees that grew during the age of the dinosaurs, take 400 years to fully mature.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Babies & Toddlers
The AAP advises reading aloud to babies and toddlers because it boosts brain power and has many other benefits. Get some tips for making the most of story time with your tot!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

How to Survive Summer Boredom
When the kids are home all day, every day, summer boredom strikes hard and fast. Learn the best summer boredom busters and tips for surviving until September.

12 Birthday Party Favors that Won't Get Thrown Away
The next time you're planning a birthday, forgo the penny candy and cheap toys. Send your guests home with one of these fun and creative party favor ideas!