Shirotae, also known as the Mount Fuji cherry, is one of the most beautiful of the white-flowered Japanes cherries. The pure whiteness of the mass of blossom contrasts nicely with the unusually dark bark.
The Japanese word "shirotae" describes the dazzling whiteness of snow, and the blossom of Shirotae does indeed have the same intense whiteness. The edges of the petals are also ruffled or feathered, a distinctive characteristic of this variety.
The flowers on mature trees are generally semi-double (having 10-20 petals), quite large, and often have a scent of almonds.
As a further benefit, the green leaves turn golden in the autumn.
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Shirotae grows with a wide spreading habit, and the top of the tree is often flat. It looks particularly attractive when planted as a specimen tree, set apart from other trees, or against a backdrop of taller trees.
Shirotae is a form of the Japanese mountain cherry Prunus serrulata, and arose in Japan in the early nineteenth century.