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Akebono Yoshino Cherry Prunus x yedoensis 'Akebono'

Previously known as:

  • Prunus x yedoensis 'Amerika'
  • Prunus x yedoensis 'Daybreak'
Phonetic Spelling
PROO-nus x yed-oh-EN-sis
Description

 'Akebono' is a stunning flowering Japanese cherry tree cultivar that has soft pink flowers that fade to white when they fully open. Their leaves are glossy, dark green, and the margins are doubly serrate to serrate. Fall foliage appears in warm shades of yellow and orange. This small deciduous tree is upright with a rounded crown when young. As the tree ages, the habit appears more spreading and horizontal. The tree measures 25 to 35 feet tall and 25 to 40 feet wide. It is a member of the Rosaceae or rose family.

This cultivar was introduced in 1925 by W.B. Clarke Nursery in San Jose, California. In the 1930s, seedlings of this cultivar were donated and planted around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. 

The genus name, Prunus, is Latin and means "plum tree." The cultivar's name, 'Akebono,' is Japanese and means "daybreak." In Japan, this cultivar is called 'Amerika.' 

'Akebono' performs best in full sun, moist, and well-drained soils. It is more drought-tolerant once it is established. It prefers acidic soils and does well in clay, sand, and loam. 

This tree has attractive light to dark gray bark with prominent lenticels that adds winter interest to the garden. The spring flowers emerge before the leaves and maybe single, double, or semi-double. The leaves appear narrower and shorter than another cultivar known as 'Mount Fuji.' 'Akebono' has small black drupes that are attractive to birds during the winter months.

Mildly fragrant, delicate, showy flowers and a canopy of blossoms will add interest to a lawn, patio, or walkway in the spring. The dark green foliage of summer and the golden yellow leaves of fall will additional beauty to the landscape.

Seasons of Interest:

Bark:  Winter     Bloom:  Spring     Foliage:  Spring, Summer, and Fall

Quick ID Hints:

  • small deciduous tree with upright branching when young and horizontal branching with age
  • light gray to dark gray bark with prominent lenticels
  • dark green, ovate to elliptical, 2 to 4 inches long
  • yellow fall foliage with orange highlights
  • soft pink flowers that fade to white with a mild fragrance
  • small round black drupes

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: 'Akebono' is susceptible to disease and insect problems. Pests include aphids, borers, scales, spider mites, and tent caterpillars. Leaf spot, twig cankers, verticillium wilt, black knot, crown rot, root rot, phytophthora, and powdery mildew can occur. This species may be susceptible to witch's broom and pruning will help control the disease. It is reportedly, one of the most disease-resistant specimens of the flowering cherry trees.

VIDEO created by Ryan Contreras for “Landscape Plant Materials I:  Deciduous Hardwoods and Conifers or Landscape Plant Materials II:  Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University

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Tags:
#small tree#drought tolerant#specimen#white flowers#pink flowers#spring flowers#winter interest#fall interest#cottage garden#flowering tree#drupes#border planting#spring interest#deciduous tree#fall color yellow#walkway planting#patio planting#bird friendly#meadows#bark#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#small tree#drought tolerant#specimen#white flowers#pink flowers#spring flowers#winter interest#fall interest#cottage garden#flowering tree#drupes#border planting#spring interest#deciduous tree#fall color yellow#walkway planting#patio planting#bird friendly#meadows#bark#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Prunus
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds are attracted to the fruits.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Defines Paths
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 25 ft. 0 in. - 35 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 25 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Horizontal
    Rounded
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a small, round, black drupe that attracts birds. They are not showy and very inconspicuous. The drupe measures 0.25 to 0.5 inches in diameter and is present during the winter months.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    The flowers emerge in the early spring before the leaves. The flower buds are light pink. The flowers are soft pink and may be single, double, or semi-double. They have a slight fragrance, and their color fades to white when they fully open.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Serrate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are glossy dark green, simple, alternate, and measure 2 to 4 inches long and 1.5 to 2.5 inches wide. They have double serrate or serrate margins. The leaf shape is elliptical, ovate, or obovate with acuminate tips. The fall foliage is yellow with orange highlights. The petiole has warty glands.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Lenticels
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is thin, light gray to dark gray, and it may be smooth or furrowed. It has prominent lenticels.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems are thin and brown.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Patio
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought