YOSHINO KWANZAN AKEBONO WEEPING JAPANESE USUZUMI SARGENT FUGENZO OKAME AUTUMN FLOWERING White Pink Pale pink fades to white Pink to gray Pink to white to gray Pink Rose lightens to pink Pink Pink Symbols around the Tidal Basin In ancient Japan, cherry blossoms symbolized the Earth's fertility. In the 1900s, they came to represent the friendship between the United States and Japan. Now, they exemplify the beauty of the District and the beginning of two of its most important seasons (spring and tourist). A look at the city's fleeting flowering symbols, which we celebrate with a 24-day festival beginning March 20. AFTERGLOW Deep pink Varieties with a symbol are shown on the map. Photos: Courtesy of Terry J. Adams, National Park Service; Alan Whittemore, U.S. National Arboretum; Katie Hetrick, University of California at Davis; japan-guide.com Sources: National Park Service, George Washington's Mount Vernon A COLORFUL JAPANESE FABLE WASHINGTON'S HONESTY In this country, the cherry tree is a symbol of truthfulness. As the myth goes, young George Washington admitted chopping down his father's cherry tree, and his father was so pleased about his son's honesty, he declined to punish him. Would the story have ended differently if little George had destroyed an exotic ornamental rather than a common native fruit tree? Could love gone wrong be the reason many cherry blossoms are pink? According to one folk tale, two knights fell in love with a girl named Masa, but she loved only one. The other blackmailed her father into ordering her to drug the wine of her beloved so the evil knight could kill him. Torn between her father's order and her love for the good knight, she dressed as her lover and drank the wine. Fooled, the evil knight killed her instead. A nearby white-flowered tree forever after bloomed in pink. Cycle of giving Twelve varieties of trees 1910: First attemptThe original gift of 2,000 trees from a Japanese dignitary arrived diseased andhad to be burned. 1981: Paying backA flood destroyed trees in Japan in 1981. They were replaced with cuttings from Tidal Basin trees. 1912: SuccessA second gift of more than 3,000 trees arrived two years later, and they thrived. SHIROFUGEN White that age to pink TAKESIMENSIS White

SOURCE: Photos: Courtesy of Terry J. Adams, National Park Service; Alan Whittemore, U.S. National Arboretum; Katie Hetrick, University of California at Davis; japan-guide.com. Sources: National Park Service, George Washington's Mount Vernon.. GRAPHIC: Samuel Granados - The Washington Post. Published March 13, 2015.