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Today, I saw my first Amanogawa cherry tree.

When  I noticed this white upright tree on a hilly street in Burnaby, I knew there was something odd about it. It was too late in the season for it to be a white plum tree, so I went to investigate.

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When I arrived under the tree, I noticed another odd thing: the flowers were not facing down, they were facing up!  Instead of seeing flowers, I could only see the back and the sepals (the leafy part shaped like a star).

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There’s only one cherry tree whose flowers stand up like this: it’s identified as Amanogawa in the Ornamental cherries in Vancouver guide by Douglas Justice.

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Ama-no-gawa means “heaven’s river” (another word for Milky Way): the branches are shooting straight towards heaven.

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Are there Amanogawa cherry trees in your neighborhood? Check the VCBF map to find out.