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.


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).


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.


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


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