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“As for cherry blossoms, the single-petaled variety is preferable. The double-cherry trees formerly grew only at the capital in Nara, but lately they seem to have become common everywhere. The cherry blossoms of Yoshino and the ‘left guard’ tree of the palace are all single. The double-petaled cherry is an oddity, most exaggerated and perverse. One can do quite nicely without planting it.”

From “Tsurezuregusa (Essays in Idleness)” by Yoshida Kenko (1330-1332), translated by Donald Keene. (Charles E. Tuttle Co.)

The cultivated yae-zakura double cherry is still associated with the ancient capital of Nara. Despite Kenko’s poor opinion, these ballerinalike blossoms remain popular and now bloom as far afield as Washington.