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CURRENT STAGES 5 AND 6: Many, if not most, of the buds have opened and now have their white and pink petals exposed!
CURRENT STAGES 5 AND 6: Many, if not most, of the buds have opened and now have their white and pink petals exposed!

Photo: Chicago Park District

More than 160 pink and white cherry trees are starting to bloom, and are expected to reach peak in the next week, weather permitting
 
The Chicago Park District is excited to announce that more than 160 cherry trees, located along the Columbia Basin in Jackson Park, are blooming.  Watch here.   Many, if not most, of the buds have opened and now have their white and pink petals exposed! Near 6401 S. Stony Island Ave., east side of Cornell Ave., located just south of Museum of Science and Industry.   
 
Chicago’s cold and wet weather has kept the buds tight and closed to protect the trees’ petals. This week promises to bring warmer temperatures and with it the possibility of seeing the trees bloom once and for all. However, the sequence of the blooms is staggered allowing for visitors to enjoy blooms over 6 to 10 days. 
 
The peak bloom period typically happens in late April to early May.  This is the first time the Chicago Park District is providing regular updates on the status of the bloom and encouraging the public to experience ‘hanami’ in Chicago. 
 
In the Japanese tradition, ‘hanami’ is the word used to describe the celebration of the start of spring, which aligns with the blooming of the cherry blossom trees, and 'sakura' is the Japanese term used to identify the flower of a cherry tree.
 
In honor of the Cherry Blossom's bloom, the Park District will host a free Hanami Sakura Celebration at Jackson Park in partnership with cultural partners, including the Japanese Arts Foundation, the Japanese Culture Center, the Consulate General of Japan in Chicago and the Jackson Park Advisory Council. The event will feature drum and dance performances by Tsukasa Taiko and Shubukai, and origami, Yukata dressing and Haiku booths on Sunday, May 1 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. For details, click here.
 
The following are the stages involved in the blooming process:
 
Still closed: Buds are visible, but are still closed. 
Stage 1: Buds are swelling but are still closed. 
Stage 2: Buds are now beginning to show signs of opening. 
Stage 3: Buds are opening and the petals will start to be visible within the next few days!
Stage 4: Buds are opening and the flowers are visible. 
Stage 5: Many, if not most, of the buds have opened and now have their white and pink petals exposed!
Stage 6: Full bloom- Nearly all of the buds have opened and the trees are now in their most beautiful state. This won’t last long, 3-8 days depending on the weather, so plan your visit to Jackson Park soon!
Bloom almost finished: Many of the flower petals are beginning to fall off the trees. The ground is covered in white and pink. The last of the flowers will be gone within a few days.
Bloom finished: The trees are done with their spring show for this year. Nearly all of the flower petals have fallen and blown away. Spring is here now in full swing, and the park is bursting to life with green leaves sweeping through the nearby tree canopies. Be sure to plan your return to see the cherry blossoms again next year. Every year is a different show, and every year is beautiful.
 
Prunus is the genus of trees and shrubs, which include cherry, plum, nectarines, and apricot. Four different varieties of cherry trees adorn Jackson Park. 
 

  • Prunus serrulata ‘Snow Goose’
  • Prunus x subhirtella ‘Snow Fountains’ white, weeping
  • Prunus x yedoensis ‘Yoshino’ pink fading to white.  The bark is dark reddish-brown and will leaf out once flowering has finished.
  • Prunus serrulata ’Accolade’(pink)cross between sargentii & subhirtella.  Most treasured of the cherry trees. Opens bright pink with semi-double blossoms in drooping clusters along bare branches.

 
Please note that a cherry tree blossom is distinguished by a tiny notch at the end of each of its five petals that resembles a heart. 
 
New this year, visitors will enjoy a self-guided listening tour of the grove. Guests will use their own phones at four (4) listening stations, where they are encouraged to scan a QR code to access a brief audio vignette about the history of the tree grove, the variety of flowers, and the Japanese springtime traditions.  The audio capsules are also available here
 
For best viewing options, we recommend visiting the Cherry Blossom Grove during times with smaller crowds, which include weekday mornings, and early afternoons.
 
A map and parking information is available at chicagoparkdistrict.com/cherry-blossoms
 
For the protection of these very delicate trees and the historic Wooded Island, the Park District requests that all visitors follow the guidelines below during their visit: 
 
•    Do not clip or remove blooms from trees;  
•    Discard garbage in the designated waste receptacles;
•    Avoid walking on and trampling on native plantings. 

History 
 
The first batch of trees were planted in 2013 to commemorate the 120th Anniversary of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and another 50 trees were added in the three years to follow by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chicago in honor of their 50th Anniversary and the relationship between Chicago and Japan. 
 
The Chicago Park District is excited to announce that an additional 118 cherry trees of the Accolade and Snow Goose Cherry variety will be planted this year. 
 
The public is encouraged to follow updates, tag us and share images of their visit using the #CHICherryBlossoms. For more information about the cherry blossoms and the Jackson Park Japanese Garden, visit chicagoparkdistrict.com/cherry-blossoms.