In the springtime from mid to late April and May there are two species of cherry trees in season in Central Park. The Kwanzan Cherry and Yoshino Cherry are in both in bloom for tourists and residents to gaze upon, as they blend in perfectly, completing the park's stunningly aesthetic scenery during these months.
The Yoshino Cherry is the most popular ornamental cherry tree planted in Central Park. In mid to late April those perusing the park can expect to see the first buds of these trees typically blossoming before any other tree or flower. Before the leaves appear on the trees pale pink flowers emerge in clusters of five or six. Then as the tree's leaves grow, they are usually a bronze color when they first develop then change to a darker green as the summer approaches. The origin of the Yoshino Cherry, which produces a hybrid cherry, is not specific. However, it is known that the first trees were brought as a gift into the U.S. from Japan in 1912. These trees, which grow up to 30 feet, are believed to be the ones along the east side of the Reservoir.
In Central Park there are numerous areas populated with the Yoshino Cherry, such as the east side of the Reservoir, Lilac Walk (northeast of Sheep Meadow), Conservatory Water, Ramble (mid-Park at 72nd Street), Delacorte Theater (mid-Park at 80th Street) and at the southeast edge of Great Lawn.
The Kwanzan Cherry, also known as the Japanese Cherry, is an ornamental cherry tree that is most commonly found in Japan, Korea and China. This particular tree has double-petal pink flowers, which start to bloom in early May after the Yoshino Cherry. When these trees first bloom their leaves are bronze colored and then turn dark green to yellow to orange and then finally to copper in autumn. These trees are fairly small, growing to reach 25 to 30 feet, and have a wide vase-shaped spreading crown. The life span of the Kwanzan Cherry, which does not produce fruit, is 15 to 25 years.
There are several locations where the Kwanzan Cherry resides in Central Park, including the West side of the Reservoir, East Green, West of Metropolitan Museum at East 83rd to 84th Streets, East Drive at 74th Street, Bethesda Terrace (mid-Park at 72nd Street), across the east Drive from the Loeb Boathouse and at the Southeast corner of the Great Lawn Oval.
There are several festivals worldwide that celebrate these types of cherry blossom trees known for their dramatic beauty. In New York City there is the Cherry Blossom Festival in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden which typically takes place in April or May.