First cherry tree census for UK
The first-ever census of cherry trees in the UK is being undertaken to map where they grow and when they flower, the Natural History Museum has said.
Scientists at the museum are calling for the public's help with the project to count the trees, which they described as a "classic sign of spring", in streets, parks and gardens around the country.
It is hoped the information will help researchers gain better insight into the UK's cherry tree population and how changes in the climate will affect flowering and fruiting times.
Alongside the count of cherry trees, which will run over three years, the Natural History Museum will, in the next few weeks, be launching a wider survey of the most common groups of trees in urban environments.
Bob Press, associate keeper of botany at the museum, said: "A classic sign of spring, cherries are easy to spot because of their beautiful, colourful blossom.
"Now they've started to flower, we're asking people to get outside to try to identify and map where every cherry tree is in this first ever census of cherries."
But he added: "People often associate blossom with cherries, but not all blossom is the result of cherry trees and it can be easy to be tricked into thinking you're looking at cherry blossom when actually it may be plum, apple or pear blossoms.
"So we're encouraging people to familiarise themselves with cherries and learn about their identification."
www.nhm.ac.uk/cherries(National History Museum Cherries)