The Sakura Obsession
The Incredible Story of the Plant Hunter Who Saved Japan's Cherry Blossoms
Each year, the flowering of cherry blossoms marks the beginning of spring. But if it weren’t for the pioneering work of an English eccentric, Collingwood “Cherry” Ingram, Japan’s beloved cherry blossoms could have gone extinct. Ingram first fell in love with the sakura, or cherry tree, when he visited Japan on his honeymoon in 1907 and was so taken with the plant that he brought back hundreds of cuttings with him to England. Years later, upon learning that the Great White Cherry had virtually disappeared from Japan, he buried a living cutting from his own collection in a potato and repatriated it via the Trans-Siberian Express. In the years that followed, Ingram sent more than 100 varieties of cherry tree to new homes around the globe. As much a history of the cherry blossom in Japan as it is the story of one remarkable man, The Sakura Obsession follows the flower from its significance as a symbol of the imperial court, through the dark days of the Second World War, and up to the present-day worldwide fascination with this iconic blossom.