Here’s the story – Pacific Rim Magazine‘s cover story is about Dr. David Lam and his Cherry Blossom Vision for Vancouver… well when I told my dad about that a few weeks ago, he was totally excited. He started boasting about how he’s planted cherry trees all over the West Coast – here in Vancouver at our house and their old house in Kitsilano, in Chilliwack at the house he sold, and down in Bellingham. In fact, he says he just convinced a friend to plant some cherry trees at their store in Kerrisdale (I think).

‘Kanzan’ cherry tree in my front yard

In preparing the magazine for the printer, we discovered that cherry trees and plum trees are often mistaken. Ginger has sent the pictures to her Horticulturist friend for identification. They told us that 3 of the 4 pictures were cherries, but this image we had of a tree in full bloom in English Bay was, in fact, a plum tree. He explained how you could tell by the way the branches grew (habit opened), and the bark.

Ginger (Art Director) and the rest of the Art Department started trying to get a picture to replace the plum… but the problem is that cherry trees are only in bloom for about 14 days. Most of the trees blooming now are plums. So during an Executive Meeting, PRM’s Publisher (and my Editorial Teacher) suggested we just make a caption explaining how plums are commonly mistaken as cherries. I told Ginger I’d be more than happy to figure out a caption for her – and she was totally relieved.

It was during my caption-writing that I discovered thought our tree was a plum! My Research also revealed what kind of Magnolia trees we have! From what I have discovered, the Differences are very subtle.

Cherry Trees have:

  • grey bark with horizontal cracks
  • light pink and pale pink/white blossoms
  • bunches of blossoms like pompoms
  • horizontal/open habit (growth of branches outward)

Plum Trees have:

  • telltale purple leaves
  • darker pink and light pink blossoms
  • darker bark (sometimes vertical cracks)
  • single blooms, not blossom bunches
  • dense, round canopy habit

In My Research I also learned that we have a Thundercloud Plum.

“‘Thundercloud’ boasts single, pink blooms on a 20-by-20-foot tree. Dark-purple leaves turn red in the fall for one of the few fall shows you’ll see from a plum tree.”

[Edit: I have since confirmed our tree IS a Kanzan Cherry. The confusing thing is that there are different cultivars of cherry and plum trees, which are easily mistaken.]

We also have a magnolia stellata (star magnolia) in the front;

star magnolia star magnolia close up
A Camillia on the front porch; A Henry in the front yard;
camillia henry
A pear tree in the back yard (which flowers yet rarely produces pears anymore);

pear tree pear flowers
And a Magnolia sargentiana robusta (one of the most commonly seen magnolia trees) in the back yard.

magnolia tree

magnolia tulip-shaped flowers