The Council of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Institute recently identified a previously unrecorded cherry tree with white blossoms as a subgroup of the Taiwan Cherry tree.
The institute has since registered the “white blossomed Taiwan cherry,” which grows at high elevations, with the International Union of Biological Science’s Commission for the Nomenclature of Cultivated Plants under the name prunus campanulata Maxim F. Alba I.C. Wen.
Huang Sheng-chung (黃勝忠), director of the institute’s National Plant Genetic Resources Center, said on Monday that he recently decided to research the background of the special white-blossomed cherry tree and discovered that there was no record in Taiwan of this type of tree.
Huang said that he initially suspected that the tree might have been an imported Japanese variety. However, after thorough search, he found that the tree did not match any on record in Japan’s plant databases.
He therefore decided to carry out a Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA analysis on a specimen of the tree and determined it to be a member of the Taiwan Cherry tree family.
The white-blossomed variety of cherry tree shares most of the same characteristics as the Taiwan Cherry, or prunus campanulata Maxim, including excellent soil adaptability.
The main difference is the color of the blossoms, with the Taiwan Cherry having deep, rosy-pink, bell-shaped flowers about 2.5cm wide.
The Taiwan Cherry is native to southern China, Taiwan and Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, and is usually found at elevations between 500m and 2,000m.
The Taiwan Cherry has been hybridized with other cherry species to produce several important ornamental trees, including the highly treasured Okame.