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USDA Researches Ways To Make Cherry Blossom Trees Hardier (VIDEO)

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WASHINGTON -- If the cherry tree blossoms lasted longer, would they still be as precious?

A new video describes cherry tree research being done at the National Arboretum.

The video features United States Department of Agriculture research geneticist Margaret Pooler, who says that scientists are now looking for ways to make cherry trees hardier -- including breeding and developing trees that are disease resistant and that are well-suited for city environments.

In an email to The Huffington Post, Pooler said that she doesn't know of any scientists trying to breed a cherry blossom tree with longer-lasting blooms.

"Bloom duration can be affected by so many factors (mostly weather-related), that it would be tough to make headway on such a variable target," she said. "Besides, for cherry blossoms at least, part of what makes us appreciate them is that they are so short lived."

Pooler has worked on other plants with special significance to the District of Columbia. Here's her paper on the flowering plant named "Anacostia." Bred at the National Arboretum, the "Camellia japonica 'Anacostia'" has glossy dark green leaves and a lovely bright pink bloom.

And here's a slideshow perfect for cherry blossom gawkers.

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