Page last updated at 07:13 GMT, Saturday, 17 April 2010 08:13 UK

Natural History Museum holds first cherry tree census

Cherry tree blossoming at Buckingham Palace
Cherry trees are regarded as a "classic sign of spring"

The first census of the UK's cherry trees is to take place, with the aim of finding out where they grow and flower.

The Natural History Museum is calling for the public's help to count cherry trees, which it calls a "classic sign of spring."

It is hoped the findings will allow researchers to map the trees and find out if changes in climate are affecting their flowering.

The project is planned to run for the next three years.

'Easy to be tricked'

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."

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."

The survey will include the nine varieties of cherry trees growing in the UK, including wild cherries.

The museum will also be running a project to try and find the most common tree in urban areas.

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