Though it’s still a bit cold outside, if you look around, you will see a bunch of fuchsia-colored flowers and pastel pink petals opening up. Those pink flowers tell us that spring is fast approaching and warm weather with bright sunshine is just around the corner.

You might wonder if it already is Sakura (cherry blossom) season.
Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but these guys are Sakura’s close cousins: the plum or peach blossom.

Quite often, Sakura being considered the national flower of Japan, gets the most attention. There are countless poems, songs, stories, designs and yes, people’s names in honor of Sakura. But interestingly enough, sakura, plum and peach have a lot in common, and sometimes they are very hard to distinguish at first glance.

So what are the differences?
Here are some pointers you can use to identify them.

For Plum Blossoms
– There is no stem
– Round petals
– Blossoms one flower per knot

For Peach Blossoms
– Stem is short
– Pointy petals
– Blossoms two flowers per knot

For Cherry Blossoms
– Stem is relatively long
– Elongated split-end petals
– Blossoms in a cluster form

Generally speaking, plums bloom earlier than its counterparts. But depending on the climate and location, flower seasons vary. In the Tokyo area, plum blossoms can be enjoyed in mid-February. Then comes the peach blossoms in March and cherry blossoms start to bloom in late March to early April.

So let’s test your powers of investigation!
Can you identify them correctly?

Flower A

Flower B

Flower C

Here is the answer
Flower A: peach, Flower B: plum, Flower C: cherry

Were you able to answer them correctly?

So the next time you spot a pretty pink flower, take a closer look at it and see what it is. Sakura, plum and peach blossoms, they are very similar, yet they are different. Each of them has unique characteristics and its own beauty. Early or late, they are all waiting for the best time to blossom.