Shirofugen is a traditional Japanese flowering cherry, notable for its brilliant pale pink / white fragrant double blossom.
Shirofugen flowers much later than most ornamental cherry trees, coming into blossom in the middle of May. The blossom is long-lasting, and changes colour from pale pink at the start of the season to pure white as the season ends.
The tree grows with an attractive spreading habit, and as it matures develops quite a presence in the garden - make sure you allow plenty of room.
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Shirofugen grows with a a vigorous spreading habit at first, but as it ages it takes on its characteristic flat-topped appearance.
The history of Shirofugen is a good introduction to the confusion in naming that occurs in the Japanese flowering cherries. Since "shiro" is the Japanese word for "white", it might be concluded that Shirofugen is also the name of this variety in Japan, but there is no reference to Shirofugen in Japanese botanic or nursery literature, and it appears to have been invented in the late 19th century by western collectors. The true Japanese name for this variety is most likely Fugenzo - but that name is already in use for another popular (and probably related) variety!
Notwithstanding this confusion, there is no doubt that this is a very old traditional Japanese variety and one of the best double-flowered white forms. For the time being we are sticking to the well-known but arguably inaccurate Western names for these varieties: we usually sell both Shirofugen (correct name probably Fugenzo) and Fugenzo (correct name probably Kofugen). Both are essentially pink / white blossom cherries, but the latter has less pink and perhaps more cream tints.