National Park Service

They're Coming! DC Cherry Blossoms Reach Stage 4 of 6

Peak bloom is expected April 8-12

We've got an update on bloom watch!

D.C.'s famed cherry blossoms have had their peak bloom date pushed back twice (thanks, cold weather), but on Thursday, they reached stage four of six, the National Park Service announced.

The NPS shared an image on Twitter of pink petals just beginning to extend from their green buds. 

"It's here!! It's here! Say it with me, all together now...PEDUNCLE ELONGATION!!" the NPS wrote on Twitter. "No better way to celebrate the end of 29 consecutive days with high temps below 60 degrees than advancing to the fourth stage of the #BloomWatch! Just two more to go."

Peduncle elongation is the most scientific-sounding (and hardest-to-pronounce) phase. It will be followed by the blossoms' least scientific-sounding phase, puffy white.

And some of the blossoms actually already have reached phase 5, the NPS said on Twitter earlier this week. 

"...[W]e're looking at a warming trend over the next few days, and there are signs that the blossoms are coming," the NPS wrote.

Peak bloom is defined as when at least 70 percent of the trees around the Tidal Basin are blossoming. Once they reach peak bloom, the blossoms can remain on the trees from four to 10 days. 

That's now expected to happen April 8 to 12. Initially, it was expected as early as March 17. But the later bloom time will coincide nearly perfectly with the two biggest events of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the parade and the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, both scheduled for April 14.

Last year's peak bloom was predicted between March 14 through March 17, but a cold snap damaged some of the blossoms and pushed it back five days. 

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