Cherry blossom bloom
The beautiful blooms of the cherry blossom are one of the surest and most celebrated signs of spring.
Cherry blossom watchers eagerly monitor the stages that precede full bloom to see when the peak in blooming will be. Walk through the stages of blossoming with us in these photos.
Cherry blossoms emerge before the leaves on the trees do, and the first sign of their impending arrival are green buds on the branches of the tree.
Anywhere between 12 and 17 days before peak bloom, florets become visible and then extend themselves from the buds.
After cherry blossoms bud, they gradually grow into florets and then experience peduncule elongation, pictured here. At this point, the blossoms are about 12-17 days from peak bloom.
When cherry blossoms reach the puffy white stage, they are just four to six days to peak bloom.
How long the cherry flowers bloom depends on how long they have been exposed to cold temperatures. A warm spell in the 60s or 70s (Fahrenheit) will produce blooms lasting four to five days, while colder temperatures could extend the blooming period so it lasts between seven and 10 days.
The cherry blossoms inspire festivals across the globe, including in Japan, Canada, New York, Washington, D.C., Georgia and (pictured) Philadelphia.