The cherry blossom (桜, sakura) is Japan’s unofficial national flower. It has been celebrated for many centuries and holds a very prominent position in Japanese culture. There are many dozens of different cherry tree varieties in Japan, most of which bloom for just a few days in spring. The seasonal spectacle is celebrated with hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties under the trees. Many of the cherry trees currently enjoyed for cherry blossom viewing are not wild species but cultivar. Because cherry trees have a mutable trait, many cultivars have been created for cherry blossom viewing, especially in Japan. Since the Heian period, the Japanese have produced many cultivars by selecting superior or mutant individuals that were born from natural crossings of wild cherry trees, or by crossing them artificially, and then breeding them by grafting and cutting. Oshima cherry, Yamazakura, Prunus pendula f.ascendens (syn, Prunus itosakura, Edo higan), and so on, which grow naturally in Japan, are easy to mutate, and especially Oshima cherry, which is an endemic species in Japan, tend to mutate into double-flowered, grow fast, have many large flowers, and have a strong fragrance; therefore, Oshima cherry has produced many sakura called Sato-zakura Group as a base of cultivars because of its favorable characteristics. The representative cultivars whose parent species is Oshima cherry are Yoshino cherry and Kanzan; Yoshino cherries are actively planted in Asian countries, and Kanzan is actively planted in Western countries.

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