Plum Vs. Cherry

Added on by the ikebana shop.

Both the plum (ume) and cherry (sakura) blossoms feature prominently in Japanese fabric and print patterns.  Can you recognize which ones are the plum blossoms and which ones are the cherry blossoms? 

IMG_7256.jpg

The plum blossom is much revered by the Japanese.  It blooms in February to early March; that is, around the time when winter is not quite over yet.  Only a strong flower can bloom in the bitter cold of winter and therefore, the plum blossom is seen as a symbol of strength and fortitude.  Together with pine and bamboo, the plum is one of the Three Friends of Winter (shochikubai 松竹梅)  It is also the true harbinger of spring.

The cherry blossom is probably the most loved flower in Japan.  It blooms in late March through April.  Once blooming, the flowers last for only about a week.  During this very special time of year, Japanese people come out and celebrate the blossoms with hanami (flower viewing) parties.  There is a carpe diem element to this, a celebration of impermanence in the Japanese psyche.

 Plum blossom. By Kakidai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Plum blossom.
By Kakidai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 Cherry blossom. By あおもりくま ( Aomorikuma ) - 青森市 合浦公園, GFDL, https://ja.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1419326

Cherry blossom.
By あおもりくま ( Aomorikuma ) - 青森市 合浦公園, GFDL, https://ja.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1419326

So now, back to our question: how does one distinguish between the plum and the cherry?  
The key is to observe the petals.  The plum has round petals.  The cherry has indented petals.  
Simple as that!

Plum blossoms on fabric.

Plum blossoms on greeting card.

Plum blossoms on chiyogami paper.

Cherry blossoms on fabric

Cherry blossoms on greeting card.

Cherry blossoms on chiyogami paper.

Now you know! 

Extra trivia....
Cherry blossoms are depicted in the 100-yen coin!