Botanical Wednesday: the fragile things sometimes last

There was a little earthquake on the east coast yesterday, which shook up the Washington Monument and may have caused some damage to it. But you know what still stands unharmed: the cherry trees.

(via National Geographic)

(Also on Sb)


  1. Gord O'Mitey says

    Jeeeez! Just because you got an award from the IHEU, you then have to indulge in a bit of phallic symbolism. I dunno.

  2. 'Tis Himself, pour encourager les autres says

    The cherry trees along the Potomac are absolutely lovely when in full bloom. However when the cherries are ripe, the bird shit that accumulates around the trees from the birds eating the fruit is quite amazing.

  3. Random Guy on teh Internets says

    Global Warming Catastrophic Climate Change will take care of those trees, thank you very much.

    Here in Texas, we’re seeing a die off of our large trees, due to the (&#@$ hot weather. Those that survive will have weakened root systems, so any large storm (hurricanes!) will topple a greater-than-normal number.

    Dog help us if we have another beetle, fungus or blight infestation.

  4. Markus Eichhorn says

    This seems a slightly misleading photo because the cherries won’t be in bloom at the moment, and I wouldn’t describe established trees as ‘fragile’. Any difference in stability probably has more to do with the sheer height of the monument relative to the trees.

  5. Aquaria says

    One of my favorite things about the gift of the cherry blossom trees from Japan is this tidbit from the National Park Service site about the history of the cherry blossom trees:

    1982: Approximately eight hundred cuttings from the Tidal Basin Yoshino trees were collected by Japanese horticulturists to retain the genetic characteristics of the trees and replace trees destroyed in Japan when the course of a river was changed. Other exchanges and gifts have benefited both cities. Through this cycle of giving, the cherry trees have fulfilled their role as a symbol and an agent of friendship.


    Most of us know the cherry trees aren’t in bloom, but it’s tough to find pictures of them online that convey the location and kind of tree as well as a picture like that.

    Using it isn’t bad for another reason: If the trees were lost, so would be anymore of pictures like that. That would make the world a little less wonderful to live in. I’m thankful that they’re fine, so that many more people will see the trees blossom again.

  6. says

    Nice post.

    I was gobsmacked to read about the 1,400-y-o-cherry in the piece Aquaria (thanks!) linked. I wonder if that age is accurate. Maybe they’re longer-lived in that place; maybe it’s an extraordinarily tough and well-cared-for tree.

    It takes skill and care to get a flowering cherry past the century mark. Kudos to the people who do this in DC!

    Marcus in #9: Not so much height as being alive (therefore supple) and having a higher roots-to-canopy ratio, so to speak. Some trees do fall in quakes, but that’s more rare than buildings’ falling.

    And, ‘Tis—they fruit too? Wow; must be an old cultivar.

  7. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    You may shake us, but you’ll never Prunus.

    Hell, our branches aren’t even drupe-y.