radioactive flowering trees

A Children’s Treasury of Japanese Tree Flowers

There are many great things that come with the start of spring, like homeless people returning to Dupont Circle, tourists on Segways, free cone day, and Jesus. Of all the obligatory D.C. spring activities, though, there’s nothing more loved than staring at the cherry blossoms, even if those pretty pink blossoms look exactly the same every year. But, since Japan is just awful these days, and because we’re all but one old Brita filter away from radiation poisoning, we thought now is a good time to figure out what exactly cherry blossoms are and how they ended up in the nation’s capital.

According to the world’s most reputable source, Wikipedia, a cherry blossom is, “the flower of the cherry trees known as sakura, which, in English, refers to the Japanese flowering cherry, Prunus serrulata. Cherry fruit comes from another species of tree.” All of which is to say, the cherry blossoms are NOT the flowers that smell like sperm.

It turns out that Japan gave the United States 3,000 flower trees in 1912 to celebrate our burgeoning friendship, which we would later ruin. BUT THE JAPANESE ARE RESILIENT: They came back and gave us another 4,000 trees in 1964. Wikipedia doesn’t really explain why Japan gave us more flowering trees, but we can only assume that the first batch died because funding for watering plants was cut after an undercover video of a gardener over-watering the blossoms surfaced. Who really knows.

Here’s another Wikipedia Cherry Blossom Fun Fact: Even though tourists come to D.C. from far and wide to see these flowers, cherry blossoms are everywhere. There are some some in Philadelphia, Macon, San Diego, and New York. Yes, we know, the blossoms in New York are somehow more authentic and just generally better than the blossoms in D.C.

So many tourists, all trapped in a low-roof Japanese Flower Cage.

If you didn’t already sneak out of your cubicle to see the cherry blossoms, it’s too late — the blossoms are no longer at their peak. This whole Cherry Blossom Thing will finally end this Sunday with the Cherry Blossom 10 mile race and the Chery Blossom Kite Festival. And now, we promise not to write the words “cherry blossoms” again until 2012.

About the author

Arielle Fleisher is the Wonkabout. She roams D.C. seeking tasty foods, cheap drinks, whole-pig BBQs, think tank events, street fairs and other local horrors.

View all articles by Arielle Fleisher
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22 comments

  1. user-of-owls

    I'm going to pretend that Ken wrote this post.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEE !!

    1. ApplesauceRobot

      First they came for the cherry blossoms.
      I did not speak out because I'm an owl. Seriously, I'm an owl. What the fuck am I supposed to do? Hoot at the motherfuckers? I eat mice in the middle of the night. I'm not even fucking awake during the day. What's a cherry blossom anyway? Is it something on a tree? Well I live in trees and I've never seen a goddamn cherry blossom. I've never even seen a cherry. Is a cherry something that my whore daughter gave away to some California condor? That's what I think it is. Fuck cherries and their blossoms and fucking trees. Well, except the tree I'm sleeping in during the day while you goddamn tourist are running around looking for some cherry blossom festival. I'll see you at night, bitches, as I hen peck your fucking eyeballs for Fourth Meal. Owl is out. Peace.

  2. jus_wonderin

    Is anyone else surprised that we were allowed to accept the trees in 1964 given our memories are long when regard to hate things? And short on love things.

  3. DashboardBuddha

    They don't really smell like jizz do they? I always thought flower blossoms should smell nice…except for the corpse flower thingy.

  4. freakishlywrong

    So, is this supposed to supplant the cute kitten link normally included in our apocalypse posts?

  5. Tommmcatt

    Don't we Gheyz celebrate this by having a huge rave in DC every year at this time? In point of fact, don't we Gheyz celebrate EVERYTHING by having a huge rave?

  6. nounverb911

    "All of which is to say, the cherry blossoms are NOT the flowers that smell like sperm"
    Mmmmm Ginkgo trees!

    1. finallyhappy

      Really, I have lived here for so long I could care less about the Tidal Basin trees. We have cherry blossoms right here in my neighborhood- but I AM NOT Telling you where.

  7. BloviateMe

    I assumed Cherry Blossom was Arielle's stage name. If I knew this story was actually about trees, well…

    1. horsedreamer_1

      This reminds me: surely DC has a burlesque troupe or an half-dozen that Wonkabout could tout.

  8. nicnack74

    It's been cold. The blossoms are falling off. The leaves are coming. However, I will say being from California, this was anticlimactic. They are all over northern California, and I don't have to freeze my ass off th be there. Bah humbug.

  9. qwerty42

    Why not grow regular cherries? Sour cherries or the like (I don't think the sweet cherries do too well in that area). Of course, there would be birds. Lots of birds. It would be kinda white too (and if the results of the birds eating the wild cherries around here are any indication, it would be purply too). So ok, maybe that wouldn't be a big touristy kind of thing that would bring folks in.

  10. MiniMencken

    Did anyone stop to take notice that in Japanese art, the cherry blossom is a symbol for the wistfully sad, transitory nature of life? The Japanese were saying, "Hey, America, you are doomed!" Isn't it time the Republican Congress got after this insult to the Greatest Nation Under God on Earth for Ever and Ever AMEN?!? Where is Glenn Beck and his blackboard? Paul Bunyan and Babe? The Chain Saw Drill Team?

  11. Jim89048

    Hey, we could give sell them back to Japan now, seeing as how they're the only strain of this particular genus that is not hopelessly irradiated, right?

  12. BaldarTFlagass

    They're all done? Damn, my colleague scheduled a meeting next week in DC just so he could see the cherry blossoms (he lives in Ohio). Guess he misread that one. So, I guess that outside of our meetings, it's gonna be all drinkin', instead of mostly drinkin' with a little flower viewing thrown in.

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