Beni-chidori (or Beni-shidare) is a flowering ornamental Japanese apricot, and has become quietly popular on account of its very early blossom, appearing in February or early March (or even earlier in mild winters), when there is not much other colour around.
The deep pink single flowers are borne in profusion and contrast elegantly with the bare branches - the blossom appears well ahead of the leaves, and is notably long-lasting (3-4 weeks). It is a great choice for bringing some intense colour to the garden towards the end of winter.
The flowers have a pleasant almond-like scent too.
In warm climates the tree will produce small yellow fruitlets in late summer, but this is very unlikely in the UK. The fruits are not particularly palatable, but are valued in China and Japan for making preserves and alcoholic drinks.
The leaves turn apricot orange in the autumn.
Although usually grown in the UK as small specimen trees, Japanese apricots have a naturally "shrubby" habit and can also be trained into low hedges. Left to its own devices it will often revert to a multi-stemmed bush.