Original Paper

International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 903-914

First online:

The phenology of cherry blossom (Prunus yedoensis “Somei-yoshino”) and the geographic features contributing to its flowering

  • Yukitaka OhashiAffiliated withGraduate School of Informatics, Okayama University of Science Email author 
  • , Hiroshi KawakamiAffiliated withGraduate School of Informatics, Okayama University of Science
  • , Yoshinori ShigetaAffiliated withGraduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Okayama UniversityDepartment of Environment System, Rissho University
  • , Hiroshi IkedaAffiliated withThe University Museum, The University of Tokyo
  • , Nobuko YamamotoAffiliated withGraduate School of Informatics, Okayama University of Science

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We investigated relationships between the flowering phenology of Prunus yedoensis “Somei-yoshino” (cherry blossom) and the local temperatures in Japan. Our observations were carried out across the Okayama Plain, which included Okayama City (about 700,000 inhabitants), from the winter of 2008 to the spring of 2009. Local air temperature (AT) and the globe temperature (GT) were recorded at the tree height. The flowering dates (FDs) of P. yedoensis were earliest in the central commercial area (located at the center of the plain), followed by the north residential area (further inland), and finally the south residential area (seaward). The recorded FDs were related to the period-averaged daily maximum/minimum AT and GT, and the phenologically effective AT and GT defined in this study. Of these parameters, the phenologically effective GTs correlated most with the FDs. Since the GT is determined by AT, solar and infrared radiations, and wind speed, our previous result suggests that a combination of these three components surrounding the tree is more important for budding and flowering than is AT alone. The supposition is supported by the flowering of P. yedoensis being the latest at the coastal region of the Okayama Plain where the AT were higher than at the inland region, excluding the urban area; it is probably caused by stronger winds there than at the other sites.


Prunus yedoensis Phenology Flowering date Air temperature Globe temperature