Prunus (Sato-zakura Group) 'Shirotae'
Common name: Mount Fuji cherry, Japanese flowering cherry
Around mid April, P. 'Shirotae' produces masses of large, almond-scented, semi-double white blossoms which are held on graceful, arching branches. The leaves have serrated margins with long hairlike projections, a trait which distinguishes this tree. The leaves emerge pale green, then soon after turn to mid green. As fall approaches they turn to shades of yellow and orange before being shed.
P. 'Shirotae' has been a popular cultivar in Japan since about 1850. It was introduced to Europe around 1905 as Mount Fuji cherry. It is thought that it was given that name because when in bloom the tree reminds us of the snow-capped peak of Mount Fuji. 'Shirotae' is the Japanese word for a fine white cloth made from the bark of the paper mulberry (Broussonetia kazinoki). The flowers of Prunus 'Shirotae ', like the cloth, are perfectly white and feel silky. P. 'Shirotae' has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit for its elegance and beauty.
Two lovely P. 'Shirotae' can be found in Bed 60T across the path from the Sequoiadendron Grove.
Text and photos by Kumi Sutcliffe