In focus: Prunus 'Taihaku' - Telegraph
These were thought thought to have become extinct until one was discovered growing in a Sussex garden in 1923 by Collingwood Ingram, a plant collector and gardener, who had it propogated and saved it for the world.
A great white cherry tree from Japan (Prunus Tai Haku).
'Taihaku' blossoms are twice the size of the average cherry.
'Tai-Haku' means big, white flowers.
It sets these flowers against a perfect background: they emerge at exactly the same time as the bronze, ragged-edged leaves.
Later in the year, the leaves will turn green, but this first flush of purity against metallic leaves is the tree's glory moment.
It bears no fruit.
You can grow the prunus on any soil and it will flower in a few years.
So where to put one? It sits perfectly surrounded by grass. It is fine in a lawn but even better in long grass. Or clothe the roots with snowdrops to flower as the buds fatten in the early spring.
Plant it at a shady end of the garden which needs some drama.
That is where I've planted mine, filling in a bare and boring place near the north and eastern corner of a native hedge.
Underneath, I've planted the purest-white orientalis hybrid hellebores.
There are clumps of pure white bleeding heart, Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba' and arching wands of Solomon's seal.
- MONTY DON: Spring blooms are just a starter for the season's main course - a riot of flowering cherry trees | Daily Mail Online
"I have Prunus serrulata 'Tai Haku', which has spindly branches dropping an extraordinary bundle of huge white blossoms, hanging like delicate explosions of petal freeze-framed in mid-air.
It is a cherry with an astonishing story, too: a legendary tree in Japan until it disappeared at the end of the 18th century, it was apparently unknown anywhere else in the world.
Then, in 1923, the owner of a Sussex garden showed Captain Collingwood Ingram – an expert on Japanese cherries – an unidentified cherry with gorgeous white flowers. Captain Ingram was unable to recognise it but took grafts and passed the resulting saplings around.
The next time he went to Japan he was shown an 18th-century book of flower paintings and recognised the hitherto unidentified white cherry from the Sussex garden.
As far as the Japanese were concerned, however, 'Tai Haku' had disappeared and could not possibly have popped up a hundred years later in England. It really does appear, though, that every Tai Haku in cultivation – which vanished from Japan 200 years ago – inexplicably comes from that Sussex tree found 87 years ago."
- Prunus Tai Haku - Hill Cherry Tree | Mail Order Trees