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[2021-2-23] Cherry-blossoming thanks to the Lifelong Efforts of Researchers
People spend only few days in hill hiking, but it takes decades to grow cherry blossoms on plains. Cherry blossoms viewing during winter has become a usual activity and in recent years, beautiful floral sea is available in cities. Cherry blossom used to be seen in tepid zones and mountain areas and why is it available everywhere now? We used to know that cherry blossom died at lower altitude due to poor adaptation and why does it now blossom everywhere?
Thanks to the invention of plain cherry blossom, the citizen is able to enjoy the beauty of cherry blossom everywhere. It is the effort of many researchers spending their whole lives. Taiwan Forestry Research Institute investigated the primordial cherry blossom to raise the germination percentage of seedling; the department of forestry of NIU found out numerous methods to nurture flower seedlings of high quality; Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute and Taoyuan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station used Taiwan cherry, which is with high adaptation to environment, in breeding with the previous researches done by their seniors. So, these are why we could now enjoy the plain cherry blossom views.
So far, there are 6 kinds of cherry blossoms which grow on plain in national. Each kind takes at least 10 years in breeding. Jian Qing De, a retired researcher of Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, said that research of trees takes long time and it could be dozen years until they get thee result. Compared to the cherry blossom introduced overseas, the local cherry blossom suits the local environment more.

The cherry blossoms in popular hotspot mostly come from other countries, and they do not adapt to high temperature when being transplanted at low altitude areas
During winter vacation, Lalashan, Wuling Farm and Alishan are crowded with cherry blossom lovers. In recent years, this upsurge goes viral on plains that people could enjoy the floral sea views in cities, like LOHAS park, Kanggaokengxi trail and Luozhuang cherry blossom trail.
The cherry blossoms of popular attraction in mountain areas mostly come from other countries, especially from Japan, like Yoshino Cherry, Kawazu Cherry and Japanese Showa Cherry. These types of cherry blossoms can only survive in middle to high elevation areas in Taiwan; they could not make it on plains.
Compared to foreign cherry blossoms, the indigenous species of cherry blossom has higher adaptation to the domestic environment. However, it has to go through barriers to become luxuriant woods.
According to A Brief History of Vascular Plants in Taiwan, the native Prunus plant in Taiwan consists of 10 types (including 1 mutant). They are Taiwan Cherry, Wusheh Cherry, Alishan Cherry, Prunus buergeriana Miq., Prunus marsupialis Kalkman, Dark-spotted Cherry, Downy Pear, Spinyleaf Cherry and Large-leaved Cherry. They have different forms in shapes and colors and Taiwan Cherry, Wusheh Cherry and Alishan Cherry are commonly seen.

Taiwan Forestry Research Institute took the lead to doing the research of primordial cherry blossoms, collecting the examination of seeds, and enhancing the germination percentage
In Taiwan, Afforestation Section of Taiwan Forestry Research Institute was the first department to do researches of cherry blossoms and Hu Da Wei, the late head of afforestation section, was the first person who started the collection of seeds and examination of mountain cherry blossoms. However, plants which are associated with cherry blossoms have the dormancy problem and low germination percentage but fortunately, Jian Qing De, the researcher of afforestation section, finally found the solution to get rid of the dormancy problem of hose cherry blossoms.
Jian Qing De indicated, “those plants which are related to cherry blossoms will dormant and they will germinate the next spring.” Then he explained that every kind of plant would have different dormancy mechanism. In Taiwan, there is a lot of dormancy situation of seeds being relieved by low temperature. But cherry blossoms are unique that they have to be relieved their dormancy situation by staying in the alternative “hot and cold” environment. For instance, seeds of mountain cherry blossoms have to be respectively placed in the warm and cold environment for two months. Another example is that the seeds of the A-Li mountain cherry blossoms germinate smoothly by being kept in the warm environment for one month and in the cold environment for three months.

Recalling those researches in the past, Jian Qing De indicated, “xylophyta (woody plants) has a long growing period, so researchers usually spend decades to do their studies and get good results, sometimes researchers wouldn’t see those application of those studied consequences in person in the final stage.” Those researchers of Taiwan Forestry Research Institute’s first intention is doing studies of protecting seeds and afforestation, but unexpectedly, those studies now are the necessary basic for some cherry blossoms on the flat ground.

NIU scholars have discovered a cultivation technology to plant masses of sapling, and the publics therefore have a chance to enjoy the neatly-blooming floral sea
Releasing seed dormancy can increase the germination rate, and make the seedlings grow at a consistent rate. Nevertheless, to make the native cherry blossoms be used in landscape engineering, the mass propagation technique is still needed. The pivotal scholar who made this technological breakthrough is Lin Shi Zong, a professor in Department of Forestry and Natural Resources of National Ilan University.

Shizong Lin said, "Sakura has many seeds, but each seed grows into trees of different shapes." To form a neat floral sea, the tree shape and flowering time of the cherry trees must be as similar as possible, so as to create a landscape of plentiful beauty.

Shizong Lin explained, "Every child who was born by the same mother would have different personalities, and so would th cherry blossom seeds." The seeds are sexually reproduced and they can grow into cherry trees with different characteristics. In order to keep the tree shape neat and the flowering period stable, it is necessary to use the asexual reproduction method of grafting and cuttage to retain the advantages of plants suitable for landscaping.

Even if the barriers of seed dormancy and seedling propagation technology have been broken through, breeding cherry trees in plains is still quite time-consuming. Wu Anna, an associate researcher at Taoyuan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station, said that for breeding, seeds should be used to cultivate seedlings, and then good plants should be selected from a large number of cherry tree seedlings. However, it takes at least three years to grow from a seed to a cherry tree and bloom the first cherry blossom. Each of the domestically bred varieties takes more than ten-year time.

6 kinds of cherry blossoms on plain were spent 10 years to cultivate, flower colors and efflorescences are different.

Domestically, people cultivate 6 strains of cherry blossom which are able to be planted on plains and cultivated by Taiwan Agricultural Research institute and Taoyuan District Agricultural Improvement Station with mountain cherry blossom as ingredient. It contains Taiwan Agricultural No.3 Da-Bai, No.4 Bai-Ling, Taoyuan No.1 Bao-Chun, Taoyuan No.2 red Chinese plum, No.3 Chun-Fei and No.4 Hong-Hua.

With regard to the latest promoted strains of Chun-Fei and Hong Hua, Wu Anna elaborated that these two strains of cherry blossoms merely bloom sustainably for 5 and 6 days in the environment below 15 °C. They are appropriate to grow on plains, with tree shape in order, so as the flowers bloom consistently by all cherry blossom tree, flower season is quite unanimously, and landscape’s efficiency is better. However, cherry blossom is merely suitable to plant at Northern Centre of Taiwan, for the winter in Southern is still in high temperature.

Wu Anna said that these two strains of flower colour and season are different, Taoyuan No.3 Chun-Fei, which petal was gradually transferred from fuchsia into white, flowering season is on mid and late January. Taoyuan No.4 Hong Hua’s petal was currently the most reddish strain among almost cherry blossom in nation. Flowering season is on the last ten day of January and first ten day of February, it have already had seedlings trader move forward and apply the authorize for produce strains. It is expected to be available on market as soon as October.

The goal of breeding in future is to be resistant to high temperature, and the conservation work after planting should not be careless.

“There will be more flower colors and strains of cherry blossom that withstand high temperature in the future.” Wu Anna said. It will be more enjoyment of sightseeing and also, it creates the feature of cherry-blossom-tourist attraction in different places. Currently, Taoyuan District Agricultural Improvement Station is conducting the experiment of duplicating cherry blossom on plains. Moreover, the temperature change is great between seasons in Taiwan, so by cultivating withstand high temperature strains that withstand high temperature, the cherry blossoms are more adaptable to the environment. This also allows the southern plains with higher temperature to obtain cherry blossoms views.

After 10-year tough cultivation of cherry blossom by researchers, the cherry blossom is eventually adapted on plains, and it should receive a patience good care. Lin Shi Zong emphasized that the work of conservation after planting cherry blossom on plain is quite important, “The healthy tree will bloom pretty cherry blossom.” Cherry blossom enjoys sunlight and needs a better sand kind soil to drain off water, especially in the condition of high temperature, and the air permeability of roots can improve the tolerance of plants to the environment.

Everyday cherry blossom on plains have to deal with the air pollution and pest invasion, and it needs a comfortable environment to grow. Therefore, people are able to enjoy the enchanted scenery of cherry blossoms’ blooming every year.
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