Tuesday, April 02, 2019

That cherry tree in Frome

Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 31st March 2019.



This is an ornamental cherry tree in Frome that I've been admiring for years. It comes into blossom early, at the same time as "Shirotae", and that's one reason why I've always assumed it was Prunus ''Hokusai", described in Alan Mitchell's tree books but now rarely seen. However after an hour of searching the Internet for images of 'Hokusai' (there aren't many good ones, but Keele University and Orange Pippin are helpful), I've reluctantly given up on that idea. So for now, let's just say that this post documents the Frome tree. You may think there's a few too many photos here, but mature cherry trees occasionally die without any warning (or the owners may decide to chop them down).

It's a stout, broadly spreading tree, domed but not especially tall, overflowing the courtyard where it grows. The buds are pink, with dark stalks and sepals, the stalks not notably long. The flowers when fully open are almost pure white. They are semi-double, but with only a few extra petals. The leaves emerge reddish-bronze at the same time as the flowers.

I've glimpsed what I think are other specimens; one somewhere in Trowbridge that I can't re-find, and another in Shaw (near Melksham). They are all mature trees.

I've scanned through all the Keele University National Collection of Flowering Cherries without spotting this variety. I could have missed it, though. Their photos are mostly of very young trees and they tend to focus on close-ups of open blossom, not on buds or leaves or mass effects.

('Hokusai' seems to differ from my tree in having pinker, more doubled flowers on longer stalks, and in the new leaves being less bronzy-red.)

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[Eventually a kind reader helped me out: it is Prunus 'Taoyame'. ... And yes, I had somehow overlooked its page on the Keele site: https://www.keele.ac.uk/arboretum/nationalcollectionoffloweringcherries/collection/taoyame/ .

I hadn't heard of this variety before, but it has been in the UK since Collingwood Ingram introduced it in 1929. It was one of his favourites, apparently. ]

Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 31st March 2019.


Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 31st March 2019.


Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 31st March 2019.



Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 31st March 2019.

Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 31st March 2019.

Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 31st March 2019.

Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 31st March 2019.

Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 31st March 2019.

Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 31st March 2019.


Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 31st March 2019.

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A week later I made a return visit and took some more pictures. The blossom is more completely out, the leaves are bigger and less red. I think it's looking even better.


Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 6th April 2019.

Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 6th April 2019.

Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 6th April 2019.

Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 6th April 2019.

Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 6th April 2019.

Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 6th April 2019.

Prunus 'Taoyame'. Frome, 6th April 2019.

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Two years later, and I happened to catch the tree on its first day of flowering. 


Prunus 'Taoyame' just coming in to flower. Frome, 1 April 2021.


Prunus 'Taoyame' just coming in to flower. Frome, 1 April 2021.


Frome isn't a town that's particularly blessed with cherry trees. I suppose this is a good place to list a few others I've noticed, in case anyone's interested in checking out the different varieties. This list is more or less in flowering sequence. 

Prunus x yedoensis (Yoshino Cherry). Two young trees outside a works building in Handlemaker Road. 
Prunus 'Spire'.  A nice tree by the mini-roundabout towards the southern end of The Butts. 
Prunus sargentii (Sargent Cherry). One in a garden at the north end of Marston Lane.
Prunus avium (Wild Cherry) Our native wild cherry. Plenty in the woodland by the river at Welshmill (some of them very big), also on the Frome bypass and in many other places. Also selections (often later flowering), e.g. at Mill Close. For the double-flowered variety 'Plena', see below. 
Prunus 'Umineko'. There are several trees planted around the edge of Homebase car park. 
Prunus 'Shirotae'. A tree right beside the road at the top of Locks Hill. Another one overhangs the road towards the eastern end of Somerset Road.
Prunus 'Tai-haku'. A big impressive tree to the right of the Wesley Methodist Church (Wesley Slope), but I'm not sure how close you can get to it. A good tree in a garden in Oakfield Road, and another in Rodden Road opposite the entrance to the old Cheese Show field. I seem to remember there are some young trees towards the eastern end of Grange Road.
Prunus 'Taoyame'. (This tree.) Bath Road, opposite the college.
Prunus 'Kiku-shidare-zakura'. A very small tree seen in lots of gardens. A good one in the southern section of Weymouth Road, another on the western side of Rossiter's Road as you go up the hill.
Prunus 'Ukon'. There are a couple of trees I've noticed over the years, but I couldn't re-find them. Either they've been removed or are the sort of magical tree that you can only see when you aren't looking for it. 
Prunus 'Ichiyo' (I think). In the garden of the sheltered housing beside Victoria Park Playground. You can get close to it on the footpath between the two. (There's also an enigmatic pair of older trees with quite similar blossom in a garden towards the southern end of Rossiter's Road. They're next to the pavement so you can take a good look and be as baffled as me.)
Prunus 'Kanzan'. A ubiquitous variety. There's a couple of ropy ones in the marketplace car park outside the library, and a better one in the car park behind the Westway precinct. And there are plenty in gardens: big ones in Rodden Road, Fromefield, Clink Road, and at the southern end of The Butts, ... 
Prunus 'Amanogawa'. Another small tree commonly seen in gardens. E.g one close to the pavement at the south end of Rossiter's Road. Another outside the Chantry Day Hospital in Manor Road. Another towards the east end of Somerset Road. There's one in Rodden Road that unfortunately demonstrates what happens when 'Amanogawa' outgrows its good looks.
Prunus 'Pink Perfection'. A fairly young tree in a private garden, next to the pavement on the western side of Marston Road, more or less opposite the entrance to Cabell Road. Another tree on Nunney Road. Another towards the western end of Innox Hill.
Prunus avium 'Plena', the double white cherry.  A number of trees in Homebase carpark, and elsewhere. 
Prunus 'Royal Burgundy'. Becoming popular in gardens. Young trees in Locks Hill, Handlemaker Road, etc.
Prunus 'Shirofugen'. Formerly there were two in the New Buildings area, but I don't know of any good mature specimens in Frome now, at least none that are easily visible to passers-by. A young tree within the playpark at the Weymouth Road entrance to Victoria Park. A hacked-about relic in Horton Street. (To see a good one, drive to Southwick and you'll pass it on your left.)
Prunus 'Shogetsu'. Again, no good ones. A scarred relic in Foster Road. A young one towards the gloomy northern end of The Butts; I'm sure it has many well-wishers! Another at the western end of Lower Innox.
Prunus padus (Bird Cherry). Another species native to the British Isles (but introduced down here, it's only truly native in the north). A nice group of trees in the Dippy, and a few around elsewhere. 


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2 Comments:

At 1:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Might it be Taoyame?

 
At 3:20 pm, Blogger Michael Peverett said...

Thank you, that looks a great call, I'll update the post when I have a mo.

 

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