Cherry Blossoms Amid the Fall Foliage
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“October Cherry” blooming in Kyoto, late November 2009 -- Himukai Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
“October Cherry”
blooming in Kyoto, late November 2009

My fall-foliage photos always seem out of season compared with the rest of the world, Kyoto not getting its color until mid November after much of the Northern Hemisphere's autumn has passed. In line with that, this post features an out-of-season element in an out-of-season photo: cherry blossoms in late November.

Five minutes away from my place, buried back in the mountains of eastern Kyoto, is the small Himukai Shrine, featured in “Thatched Roofs and Colored Canopies” and “Changing Seasons, Changing Lenses” earlier this month. Among the spectacular colors I didn't even notice the lone blooming cherry tree off to one side until it was pointed out to me.

Its decidedly delicate presence can be seen, if given the proper attention, at the far left of this shot from the parking lot:

Stairs Up to the Himukai Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Stairs Up to the Himukai Shrine

At the far right, you can see part of the Gate of Disrepair.

I knew that cherry can bloom in January.... in Okinawa, where Spring arrives after Summer hasn't really left. I never knew that there is a variety of cherry blossom that blooms in the fall/winter, but there you have it.

十月桜 “October Sakura” Kyoto University “Himukai” (name of the shrine) Club, March 15 2007 -- Himukai Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/4.5, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
十月桜
“October Sakura”
Kyoto University “Himukai” (name of the shrine) Club, March 15 2007

Despite the Japanese name 十月桜 (jyuugatuzakura, “October Sakura”), they apparently bloom through January, and again for a short time in the Spring (when the rest of the cherry blossoms boom). I'd never heard of such a thing. According to this page, the scientific name is Prunus subhirtella cv. Autumnalis.


All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

‘Autumnalis’ is a very popular cultivar in the British Isles and Europe and, no doubt, in suitable parts of North America, too. In Britain, it tends to produce intermittent flushes of blossom in mild weather in late autumn and winter, with the main blooming in early spring. There is also ‘Autumnalis Rosea’ with slightly deeper pink flowers. For whatever reason, we fail miserably with ‘Autumnalis’ in our Welsh garden – they just die on us.

I am very envious of your late autumn – you may have heard of the snowy and icy weather in Europe; I know the northern US has had some real winter already, too.

— comment by Peter in Wales on December 31st, 2009 at 10:55pm JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

Oh, so glad to hear from you again, Peter. One question: are these simply flowering cherries, or will they bear fruit?

— comment by Grandma Friedl, Ohio, USA on December 31st, 2009 at 11:56pm JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

Hello, Grandma Friedl, and a Happy New Year to all the family.

I don’t recall ever seeing fruit on the autumn-flowering cherry, perhaps not surprising as the flowers are semi-double, so the important bits may not be functional. Prunus x subhirtella, to which it belongs, is now thought to be a hybrid, so may be sterile for that reason. If it were to fruit, I suspect they’d be small and very bitter.

— comment by Peter in Wales on January 1st, 2010 at 1:23am JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeff this is Jeff… This could be confusing…
I’m asked often on late August to Sept about the fall colors here in New England and to compare them to Japan.. I spent 4 years in Okinawa and I never once saw the colors you managed to capture..
I wish I had left the base more because you showed me some really impressive colors. Were they down in Okinawa or were they all up in Japan (Kyoto?)

Jeff Foliage
http://www.yankeefoliage.com

I don’t think Okinawa has much in the way of a winter, does it? All my foliage photos should have a map link under them, but they’re all from around Kyoto (35N latitude, the same as Memphis or Albuquerque). Okinawa is much further south, like Florida, which also isn’t know for its fall colors. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jeff Foliage on March 27th, 2010 at 10:03pm JST (7 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink
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