Virtual Reality and the Japanese Cherry

Prunus serrulata 'Alboplena'

Prunus serrulata ‘Alboplena’, Japanese Cherry

Standing at the top of a bluff, overlooking the lake in the sandstone garden at Cambridge Botanics, is my favourite tree in the garden. Ok, I might need to use the word favourite for other examples there, but it remains a fact that on every visit I check out this tree in detail. The tree is Prunus serrulata ‘Alboplena’, a Japanese Cherry and it looks old and gnarled and just like it has stepped out of a japanese silk painting.

The tree has a wonderful shape, a knobbly bole and unusually (for this species) has a bifurcated trunk. I am not sure exactly how old it is, but it feels noble!

Each year I try to catch it, in flower or in its autumn colour:
ps5but I rarely succeed, because these phases are transient and I usually just miss them.

This week I actually managed to time a trip to see the snowy white blossom. This luck was partly because I had noticed that the Japanese cherries in Wimpole were in bloom and also because I was following up a Wordlessly Wednesday reveal from ….. Gardening Jules  for Staphylea holocarpa ‘Rosea’, (apparently there is an example in the middle of the rose garden at the Botanics). So I caught both in their full glory. A result all round!

Close-up of the japanese cherry in flower at Cambridge botanics

Close-up of the japanese cherry in flower at Cambridge botanics

In the end, what I like best about the P. serrulata ‘Alboplena’ is neither the flowers (which coats the dark limbs like a heavy snowfall because they are so full) nor its autumn colour, but its form and structure. I especially like the tips of its branches. They look just like fractal patterns.

I know that you can see fractal designs in a lot of nature (snowflakes, ferns etc are good examples). Indeed, they use fractals to generate CGI landscapes in films routinely these days. (The first film to do so was Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in 1982.)

CGI wooded landscape rendered using fractals

Example of a CGI wooded landscape rendered using fractals

I think it is because the Prunus serrulata in the Botanic Gardens is just so bold in the small details of its form though, with its dark, knobbly bark contrasting against the flowers, you can always see the pattern:

Dark knobbly branches shown against double blossoms

Dark knobbly branches shown against double blossoms

Especially in winter, against the sky:

Fractal-like branches of Prunus serrulata seen against a blue sky

Fractal-like branches of Prunus serrulata seen against a blue sky

It is back to the most basic fractal development possible and I love it.

Basic fractal trees

Basic fractal trees

 

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About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
This entry was posted in Out and about, Trees and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Virtual Reality and the Japanese Cherry

  1. Chloris says:

    A great post and super photos. I can see why you love this tree. There are some wonderful trees in the Cambridge Botanic Garden. In March this year I was bowled over by Prunus mume ‘Omoi- noi- mama’ which I have never seen anywhere else.

  2. Pingback: Ring of Fire – Lighting up the Lake at Cambridge Botanics | Frogend dweller's Blog

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