Source: Wikipedia

Origin debates

  • In 1908, a French missionary Taquet discovered a native cherry in Jeju islands, Korea and in 1912 a German botanist Koehne gave it a scientific name Prunus yedoensis var. nudiflora. Although this species called Eishu zakura is a variation of Yoshino cherry, from then it was misrepresented that Yoshino cherry was growing naturally in Jeju Island.
  • In 1933, the Japanese botanist Gen’ichi Koizumi reported that Yoshino cherry originated on Jeju island, South Korea.
  • In 1962, Yo Takenaka ruled out the possibility of Korean origin by the morphological study.
  • In 1995 DNA fingerprinting technology was used to conclude that Yoshino cherry grown in many parts of Japan under the name Prunus × yedoensis is indeed clonally propagated from the same hybrid offspring of Prunus lannesiana (Oshima zakura) and Prunus pendula (Edo higan), which confirms the 1991 conclusion given by Iwasaki Fumio that Prunus × yedoensis originated around 1720–1735 by artificial crossing of these species in Edo (Tokyo)Oshima zakura is an endemic species found only around Izu Islands, Izu and Bōsō Peninsulas not around Korean Peninsula.
  • In 2007, a study conducted on the comparison of Japanese Yoshino cherry and Korean king cherry concluded that the trees native to these two places can be categorized as distinct species.

However, in Korea, Korean native king cherry is still believed to be the same species as Japanese Yoshino cherry.*

* Most cherry blossoms planted along Sough Korean streets are Somei Yoshino, many of which were once uprooted for “originating from the land of ‘Japan King’ (Emperor of Japan)”.