A ‘horticultural anomaly’: Lone cherry tree blossoms out of season in Burnaby

Click to play video: 'Burnaby cherry tree in full bloom in October'
Burnaby cherry tree in full bloom in October
A cherry tree near Metrotown in Burnaby is in full bloom this October and experts say it could be the last flowering – Oct 16, 2021

Amid the gloomy weather and falling leaves, one lone cherry tree is defying the season and adding a bright spot to the otherwise dreary fall.

The lone Accolade cherry is in blossom, showing bright pink flowers that should normally appear in the late winter or early spring.

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“The flowers look fantastic, but this is probably its dying breath,” Douglas Justice, associate director of the UBC Botanical Garden, told Global News.

“Normally, this is going to flower in March, and typically it would flower without any leaves on it. So flowering now, we know it’s unusual and we know it’s a stress response.”

The “horticultural anomaly” is likely a stress response to the unusually hot summer and the historic heat dome that baked B.C.’s south coast in June and July, Justice said.

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While some cherry trees are known to bloom in October or November, they are of other varietals, and don’t do so with their leaves on, he said.

Metro Vancouverites who want a touch of colour can spot the tree on a raised walkway at Nelson Avenue and Kingsway near Metrotown.

Otherwise, Justice said, they’ll have to wait for next spring when they can use a map from the annual Cherry Blossom festival to help find the best displays of blossoms in the region.

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