By David Bare
Special to The Outlook
According to a recent NPR report, eight million foreign tourists normally visit Japan during cherry blossom season, or hanami. That likely will not happen this year. Nor will visitors be privileged to see the mid- and late-season blossoms at Descanso Gardens, as they are currently underway. Cherries seem to react to the weather differently every year, but this season has been marked by gradual change and progression.
The early Taiwanese cherries and “Pink Cloud” have long been finished, and Beni Hoshi and Akebono are in their full glory now. Both have distinct characteristics. Beni Hoshi is variously defined as meaning pink star, ruby star or red star. It is decidedly soft shell pink in the flowering cherry, but a Japanese maple with the same name is commonly called “Ruby Stars” for its red, star-shaped spring leaves. Beni Hoshi flowers are distinctly pointed and star-shaped.
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