Many ornamental cherries (Prunus spp.) produce double-form flowers, having extra rows of petals that make the blossom look full and ruffled. Cultivated varieties bear the double flowers, as they have been selected by man from regular flowering wild species. Semi-double flowers have fewer extra petals than double-form flowers and are an attractive alternative.
European Bird Cherry
Native to Europe and much of northern Asia, the cultivar Plena of European bird cherry (Prunus padus) bears double white flowers.
The bird cherry (Prunus avium) also is native to Europe and Asia as well as northern Africa, and includes Plena, a selection that also produces double-form white blossoms.
Called Higan or rosebud cherry, Prunus x subhirtella includes two varieties with double-flowers: Pendula Rosea Plena and Yae-shidare-higan. Occasionally double flowers may be mixed in among more singular flowers in Autumnalis, Autumnalis Rosea, and Pendula Rosea. Selection Fukubana is consistently a semi-double flowering plant.
A wealth of hybrid cherries, many developed in Japan, bear double flowers on attractively shaped trees. Prunus Kiku-shidare-zakura, also known as the Cheal's weeping cherry, bears double blossoms of bright pink on drooping branches. Prunus Hikusai, sometimes named Uzuzakura, bears pale pink double flowers in late spring. Prunus Ichiyo produces wide-opening pinkish white flowers. Prunus Kanzan has two synonyms, Kwanzan and Sekiyama, and is perhaps the most widely celebrated double flowering cherry in the world. The flowers are deep powdery pink and appear just before the coppery foliage emerges in mid-spring. Prunus Shirofugen has pink buds that open to double white flowers. Prunus Shogetsu has frilly petals that are pink and white. Prunus Ukon produces pink buds that become ivory with hints of pink.
Semi-Double Flowering Trees
The Hally Jolivette cherry tree is a hybrid with pink flower buds that open to lighter pink blossoms with nearly a double-form. Likewise, Accolade cherry, a hybrid derived from the Sargent cherry, has pale pink flowers that have 12 to 15 petals each. Prunus Choshu-hizakura has medium pink flowers that are semi-double in form. The Mount Fuji cherry, also named Hosokawa, has white blossoms. Finally, Prunus Yae-murasaki is a slow-growing variety with dark pink blossoms. Numerous hybrids with semi-double flowers are being developed and enter the market after being evaluated for plant hardiness and vigor. Other species of Prunus have double-flowers resembling cherries when in bloom, although they are commonly called other names such as ornamental peaches, almonds, plums, apricots or Japanese apricots.