Cherry Blossom Botanist
Today is the birthday of the British botanist Collingwood "Cherry" Ingram, who was born on this day in 1880.
Since he was a child, Ingram was obsessed with cherry blossoms. He spent most of his adult life devoted to their cultivation and preservation.
In 1926, Ingram traveled to Japan, hoping to find new varieties of cherry trees. Instead, Ingram witnessed a sharp decline in cherry diversity. The usual suspects played a role: loss of habitat and a lack of attention. But there was also a more significant danger posed by a new, pervasive ideology. As it turned out, the Imperial stance had changed, and the emperor wanted his people to grow just one variety of cherry ina symbolic way to unite the nation of Japan.
At the time, the preferred cherry blossom was the pink Somei-yoshino. The emperor had outlawed all white-blossomed cherry trees. The new law was especially tragic to Ingram, who was partial to the white-blossomed cherry tree.
In response to Japan's declining cherry diversity, Ingram personally cultivated and grew 50 varieties of cherry that were slowly phasing out on the Island of Japan. Wisely, Ingram brought specimens home with him to the island of England, where Ingram's work with cherries made him a world expert. Thanks to Ingram's foresight and preservation efforts, he was able to reintroduce the Great White Cherry Tree to Japan.