|Akebono Cherry trees in Portlands Riverfront Park herald the advent of spring. When their soft pink blooms emerge on bare branches, Portlanders know that spring has arrived. Set against a background of cloudy gray skies, concrete seawalls and bridge abutments, and a dark and moody Willamette River, the trees delight all who pass by. Whether viewed from above while crossing a bridge, or by pedestrians who look up into their branches, the trees serve as a great antidote to the winter drearies.
Akebono Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis Akebono) trees sport fluffy clouds of delicate pink flowers in the spring. They are a brighter tint of pink than the flowers of the better-known and more widely planted Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis), made famous by its annual blossom display at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. Akebono Cherry is similar in growth habit to Yoshino as well, but is said to mature at a slightly smaller height and spread. Its shape is upright and spreading, reaching about 25 feet in height and spread at maturity. Foliage is medium green and turns yellow in the fall.
Due to its superior performance in the Pacific Northwest maritime climate, Akebono Cherry has been named a Great Plant Pick for 2003. It is rated hardy through USDA Zone 5.