Could the first sighting of cherry blossoms in Shanghai be a sign that winter is ending and this mild weather will lead us into spring? With temperatures forecasted to reach 20 degrees Celsius by the weekend, we may be in luck.
The first flowering cherry blossoms have been spotted at Shanghai Botanical Garden in Xuhui District, so it seems blooming has commenced and it’s time to get outside and make the most of this beautiful time of year, given its relatively short season.
Regarded as a symbol of renewal and vitality, cherry blossom experts often refer to the period of ‘peak bloom,’ which means 70 percent of the blossoms are open, and how long this will last can depend on the surrounding weather conditions. The blooming period of the cherry blossom commences several days before the peak bloom date, and can remain for up to 14 days, however frost or high temperatures combined with wind and rain can lead to a reduction in this timeframe.
Given this estimated timing of the cherry blossom cycle, we can expect blooming to occur from early to mid-March and last until early April.
When you’re out and about however, don’t be mistaken between cherry blossoms and plum blossoms, as they may look similar but there are differences between the two. Cherry blossoms have a split at the end of their petals while plum blossoms do not, and cherry blossoms sprout green and unfolding leaves while plum blossoms usually have small purple leaves that are somewhat rolled. In addition, true cherry blossoms only emit a faint scent, while plum blossoms have a strong, floral aroma.
So, as this national flower of Japan brings beauty to our city, start planning your time to enjoy the great outdoors in the parks and gardens around town. Over the coming weeks be sure to visit Shanghai’s biggest blossom park, Gucun Park - with their 10 thousand cherry trees it is arguably the best place to view the pink ‘sakura’ flowers. Another popular spot is Shanghai Tongji University, where their 200 meter lane is great for artistic cherry blossom photos. And, we hope in the weeks to come, Luxun Park in Hongkou district will announce their not-to-be-missed Cherry Blossom Festival.
While the origin of the cherry blossom may continue to provide debate among certain countries, let’s just be grateful we don’t have to go all the way to Japan to view this wonderful offering from nature, that signals spring is on its way.
[Image via shutterstock, chinadaily.com]