Plum Blossom and Cherry Blossom: What Are the Differences?

Plum blossom

Many would think that there is no difference between a cherry blossom and a plum blossom. Both very common in Japan, tourists tend to confuse them. It is true that, from a distance, one can easily mistake it. However, if we approach a little, you can easily observe some notable differences in their characteristics. Colors, shapes, scent and flowering season are all criteria that can help you make the difference. Zoom in on the differences between cherry blossoms and plum blossoms.

Different flowering seasons

Before even looking closely at our beautiful creations of nature, it is worth noting the date of the sighting. Indeed, the flowering of the cherry trees is not entirely simultaneous with that of the plum trees: While the cherry blossoms are observable from April to May, those of the plum tree are rather present from the end of January to the beginning of February. Note that the cherries are already present on the tree while the plum blossoms are just beginning to emerge from their buds.

Once the season has been examined, you will normally already be able to tell whether you are dealing with a cherry or a plum tree. However, let’s look at the other details that can tell the difference between their two flowers.

Close up on the shape of the flowers

The flowers themselves speak volumes: the plum blossom is clearly round; the cherry blossom, on the other hand, may appear round at first glance, but when you get closer you can see a slight umbrella shape, distinctly curved.

Observe their colors

While it is true that the Japanese have a certain attraction for white cherry trees, there are also light or dark pink ones. Plum flower, on the other hand, can be pink, white, or dark red. So do not be mistaken with the color white, which can characterize each of these two species of flowers.

Smell their scent up close

Unconvincing, but nonetheless noticeable, the scent of our two flowers show a slight difference. Although both quite flowery, the plum blossom will be able to smell from further away, in a clearer way, and this especially in cold weather, while the cherry blossom will have a more discreet, softer scent, difficult to capture remotely.

Microscope on the petals

The petals, too, have their clues to give us. The most notable feature is the small slit observable at the end of each cherry blossom petal, in contrast absent from plum blossoms. While any other clue may leave one undecided, this criterion will usually serve to make a concrete difference.

Other characteristic differences between cherry and plum

In addition to the flowers, certain traits of the cherry tree differ from the plum tree:

  • The buds: Oval in the cherry tree, it will be rather round in the plum tree. Also, more than one cherry can come out of the cherry tree bud, while only one plum will come out of the plum tree.
  • The leaves: they are green in the cherry tree, and rather purple-red in the cherry tree. There are also plum trees with green leaves, but they are very rare.
  • Bark: Dark gray to black in plum, it will tend to light gray in cherry. Also, the rather smooth patterns with soft lines will differentiate the plum tree from the cherry tree, with its small distinct horizontal lines.

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