Cherry Bloosom time n Washington DC: Where are the cherries?

Michaela returned from a class trip to Washington DC last week, and yesterday she mentioned how beautiful the cherry trees are. Naturally, this started me to thinking about a question that has never occurred to me before.

If the cherry trees throw millions of blossoms every spring, they must turn into cherries at some point during the summer.

What happens to all the cherries? I never see any stories in the news about how all the D.C.-area schoolchildren are gathering cherries and making a huge cherry pie for the homeless. Nor do I see any stories about how the birds are eating the cherries and crapping all over everything.

So what gives?

The cherry trees that are cultivated for their flowers (in Japan and elsewhere) don’t produce edible fruit. (At least, not edible by humans – birds and squirrels might eat them).

That is REALLY disappointing. All fruit tree blossoms should turn into edible fruit.

And all flowers should be fragrant.

I’m afraid it’s usually one or the other. Plants which produce large, edible fruits are not often those which need powerfully fragrant flowers.

I guess I was unclear. My second desire, for flowers that are fragrant, refers to the kind of flowers that you buy for your wife when you screw up. It was sort of a change of subject.

Trees that make blossoms (not “bloosoms”, as I said in the thread title) should also make tasty snacks.

Actually, they probably are edible. But we’ve gotten spoiled by thousands of years of selective breeding of fruit trees, grains, vegetables, etc. It’s almost fun to eat the fruit of a wild apple tree, because you get to taste what prompted people to start trying to breed better-tasting versions.

Ever seen what a wild carrot looks like? Hardly the sort of thing you’d be cooking up for the Thanksgiving table! :stuck_out_tongue:

That’s a lovely thought, but it often doesn’t work that way. When you look at it from the plant’s point of view, the goal is to get the flowers fertilized, and to get the seeds spread as far as possible. The trees don’t care about us. (If somebody cares to stretch this into Intelligent Design, this is not the right forum for religious debate.)

If you walk among orange trees, the aroma is intoxicating. In an apple orchard, you have to get your nose right up to the blossoms to appreciate the aroma. However, the bees know, and they’re the important audience. A big lilac bush will call to your nose from hundreds of feet away, but I don’t know of anybody who eats their “fruit.”

We humans like to mess with nature’s plants for our own purposes. Today’s apples and cherries are the result of careful breeding. The Bradford Pear tree, though, was bred for lovely form, pretty flowers, and pencil-eraser sized fruit.

Giles’s Wiki link points out that D.C.'s famous cherry blossoms were a gift from the Japanese government in 1912 and again in 1965. Those trees were bred for flowers, not fruit, as flower viewing is a big deal for the Japanese people.

Maybe we should. The wild carrot is the thigh-high weed we call Queen Anne’s Lace. It does taste carroty, but I’ve never cooked up a batch.

But the flowers on wild carrots are beautiful! They aren’t called Queen Anne’s Lace for nothing!

That’s as may be, but for this person, cherry eating is a bigger deal than flower viewing.

And since my wife is totally blind, and therefore unable to appreciate big colorful flowers for their size and color, flower smelling is more important than flower viewing.

Anyway, the question has been answered, so mods, you may close the thread if you are so inclined.

Producing flowers requires an intensive energy input from the plant. The bigger and more fragrant the flowers, the more energy is required.

Producing fruit requires an intensive energy input from the plant. The bigger and more sugary the fruit, the more energy is required.

Plants have a finite amount of energy and other resources such as nutrients at their disposal. Solar energy, while free and abundant, is not the most efficient source of fuel, whether for humans building a solar panel array or sunflowers sprouting their giant light-catching leaves.

So the bigger the flowers, the smaller the fruit, and vice versa.

(This is the same reason that, as a very general rule of thumb, most vegetables and fruits need full sun to produce well, and most of the brightly-colored annuals you buy at the garden center every spring won’t bloom well if you stick them in the shade. Need solar power to fuel all that fancy growth.)

There are lots of festivals around the country. You pays your money, and you picks your festival. I see you’re in California, so there are many places you can take your wife when the orange blossoms are in bloom. Maybe can point you in the right direction. Not to mention the garlic festival in Gilroy. Woo hoo!

Excuse me, but what are you talking about her returning from seeing the cherry blossoms last week? Cherry blossom time is the first week of April.

I didn’t say she saw the blossoms. I said she reported seeing the trees.

That got me to thinking about the blossoms.

If it makes you feel better, note that cherry leaves and blossoms are edible too.