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Cherry Blossoms of Washington, D.C.

A city rich in politics, culture, and nature Washington, D.C. is the capital of America and known for its beautiful cherry blossoms. Follow this slideshow to learn about the cherry blossoms of Washington, D.C.
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Image by Carol M. Highsmith
Cherry Trees

Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki gave the city of Washington, D.C., a gift of 3,000 cherry trees in 1912 to recognize the friendship between Japan and the United States. The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates this occasion. Pictured is the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C.

Carol M. Highsmith, a distinguished and widely published American photographer, began donating her work to the Library of Congress in 1992. The Carol M. Highsmith archive at the Library of Congress includes photos from each of the United States and is expected to eventually contain 100,000 photos. Professionally printed and framed prints of these photos are available at PhotographsAmerica.com.

Image by Carol M. Highsmith
The First Two Trees

First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted the first two trees in 1912.

Photo source: Carol M. Highsmith

Image by Carol M. Highsmith
Yoshino and Kwanzan Cherry Trees

Two varieties of cherry tree have become predominant since 1912, the Yoshino Cherry and the Kwanzan Cherry. Single white blossoms distinguish the Yoshino Cherry, while double blossoms of almost clear pink are produced by the Kwanzan Cherry.

Photo source: Carol M. Highsmith

Image by Carol M. Highsmith
Blooming

The cherry trees bloom each year from late March to early April. The earliest recorded blooming date was March 15, 1990. The latest recorded date was April 18, 1958.

Photo source: Carol M. Highsmith

Image by Carol M. Highsmith
Vandalism

Four cherry trees were vandalized on December 11, 1941. It was speculated that the trees were cut down in retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Hoping to prevent future vandalism, the trees were renamed "Oriental" flowering cherries for the duration of World War II.

Photo source: Carol M. Highsmith

Image by Carol M. Highsmith
First Lady "Lady Bird" Johnson

First Lady "Lady Bird" Johnson accepted an additional 3,800 trees in 1965.

Photo source: Carol M. Highsmith

Image by Carol M. Highsmith
Japanese Cherry Tree

Cuttings from a famous 1,500-year-old Japanese cherry tree in Gifu Province, Japan, were planted in 1999 in the Tidal Basin.

Photo source: Carol M. Highsmith

Image by Carol M. Highsmith
Other Variations

In addition to the Yoshino and Kwanzan Cherry trees, other varieties can also be found around DC. They include: Akebono, Weeping Japanese, Takesimensis, Usuzumi, Okame, Shirofugen, Fugenzo, Sargent, and Autumn Flowering Cherry.

Photo source: Carol M. Highsmith

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