Plum Blossom or Cherry Blossom – which is it?

Plum BlossomOkay, I plead guilty to this one. Sometimes, especially at this time of year when I’m waiting for the first cherry blossom to bloom, I might have got my plum blossom and my cherry blossom mixed up. But it’s not going to happen any more, no sirree. I’ve done my research and now I know how to spot the difference. I bet you want to know too, so I’m going to share with you my handy three point guide to telling them apart.

Plum Blossom

First, a bit of background. It’s not surprising we get cherry blossom and plum blossom muddled up as they’re both members of the Prunus family, along with almonds, apricots, peaches and nectarines. They’re all stone fruit, which means they have a hard seed embedded in a soft covering. (So almonds aren’t actually nuts at all – you heard it here first).

Cherry Blossom

So here we go with plum versus cherry blossom.

Point 1 – Cherry blossom has a little notch in the edge of the petals. Plum blossom doesn’t.

Cherry Blossom

Plum Blossom

Point 2 – Cherry blossom has oval buds. Plum blossom has round buds.

Cherry Blossom

Plum Blossom

Point 3 – The bark of a cherry tree is grey and has horizontal stripes on it, like little cuts. The bark of a plum tree is dark brown and doesn’t have the notches.

Cherry Tree

Plum Tree

Easy, right?

Both cherry blossom and plum blossom can be pink or white, so don’t let the colour fool you.

Plum Blossom

Plum blossom blooms pretty early, so you start to see it in February or even earlier. Cherry blossom tends to bloom later, though with the mild winter we’ve had this year (2016) everything is coming out early, so the cherry blossom will probably be earlier than usual too. I took all these pictures in my neighbourhood in the last few days, but it’ll be another month yet before the cherry blossom really gets going.

Check out my London Parks Cherry Blossom Top Five Guide for lots more information and regular updates on progress.

PS – Test yourself – is this cherry or plum?

Plum Blossom

10 thoughts on “Plum Blossom or Cherry Blossom – which is it?

  1. Hello, been dreaming in my entire life to see a cherry blossom but never get a chance to visit Japan, I’ll be traveling to London in the end of May, is there any possibilities that I can still see those flowers bloom?
    Thank you.
    Btw, your info helps a lot. 🙂


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