Question about Japan's cherry blossoms..

It’s almost time for the cherry blossoms to disappear here in Tokyo, which leaves me to wonder: Where are all the cherries?

Many varieties of flowering cherries don’t produce fruit. Generally, double blossoms don’t fruit. You can sometimes see one or two branches of single blossoms on a double blossom tree, and those branches will produce fruit…generally very small juicy cherries.

Interesting. Every year I ask that question to the locals, and nobody seems to know.

How different are cherry producing trees vs non-cherry producing trees? Why would they even give them the same name?

When I was growing up, there were a bunch of trees near my house that grew runt apples, but we would never confuse them with apple trees. They were just crabapples. Are these crabcherries?

The thing to remember is that plants can be pretty plastic. Flowering cherries and fruiting cherries are the same species, with just a few genetic mutations.

And yes, crabapples are the same thing as apples. Your average apple tree, grown from seed will turn out to be a “crabapple”. But crabapples are just little sour apples, which vary occasionally. Sometimes a crabapple is a little larger or sweeter than average. Sometimes a crabapple is a LOT larger or sweeter than average. Whenever an orchardist would come across one of these, they would graft branches onto crabapple rootstock.

Every variety of apple apple tree is the result of a graft from that one original apple. So every apple tree that produces, say, Red Delicious or Granny Smith apples is a clone of one individual crabapple that just happened to be good enough for a quick-acting orchardist to preserve it. If you plant seeds from a Red Delicous tree or a Granny Smith tree they will grow up into crabapples 99% of the time.

I think Lemur866 has it. Some of the trees were bred to be pretty, others were bred to be tasty.

Incidentally, the fruit from American cherry trees are pretty different from the fruit of Japanese cherry trees (the ones bred for fruit, that is). The American ones are much darker and sweeter.

btw, do the fruit trees in America produce the same pink blossoms?

Some varieties of flowering plants that have double flowers (as Lemur866 mentioned) are specifically missing various reproductive parts, or the extra petals get in the way, preventing pollinating insects from doing their job, or they lack the scent or nectar glands that would attract the pollinators.

I have seen ornamental cherry trees produce the occasional fruit though.

Yes, at least they do if you mean NORTH America… It’s cherry blossom time in Vancouver, but since it’s raining today the streets will be littered with delicate pink blossoms knocked off the branches.

Cherries, apples, peaches, pears, almonds, roses, they are all in the rose family and they all can have “double” blossoms (I don’t know why they are called that since they generally have lots more than 10 petals) and even the normal five petalled versions can be selected for fruit or not (I imagine the non-fruiting varieties put a lot more energy into flowering) and for scent or not. When I was in Japan during the plum blossom season (which where I was began in February) most of the fancy trees were unscented, but there was one that had a very strong scent. Wild roses are also five-petalled and normally will fruit (rose hips) but roses for display will not. I assume they all have to be reproduced vegetatively). And, BTW, not all north American cherries are dark. The Queen Anne cherry is a pale pink, but also very sweet. These are all the result of careful breeding.