An afterlife for beloved DC cherry tree Stumpy

This spring, Washington, D.C. residents turned out in droves to say sayonara to Stumpy, a gnarled and dying Japanese cherry tree. Even though Stumpy looks more like driftwood than a healthy plant, it manages to produce a flowering branch every year. Cherry tree blossoms attract hordes of tourists to the nation's capital every year, but this scraggly survivor has captured the hearts of locals. Now, though, the tree's valiant struggle has come to an end. According to an NBC Channel 4 report, the Tidal Basin where Stumpy lives has been flooding in recent years, due to climate change. Most of the iconic cherries around it have already met the Grim Reaper, and, to rebuild the nearby seawall, the rest of the trees have to go. 

The news that Stumpy would be removed, and eventually mulched, in addition to more than 100 other cherry trees, hit hard. People were upset.

"Damn they can't move him or nothing? Going straight to murder?!" asked one commenter on our Instagram post announcing Stumpy's impending demise.

Stumpy is too damaged to survive a transplant, but there is life after mulching for the plucky plant. The National Park Service is working with the National Arboretum to save Stumpy clippings, and regrow them into virtual clones of the original.

"This is a National Mall icon, a Washington D.C. celebrity, social media sensation, you know, but also a symbol of hope and perseverance," Piper Zettel, horticulturist with the Arboretum, told News4. "So, we are really thrilled to be a part of this project."

So it's a happy Hollywood ending for Stumpy —  a belov

Photo: Erik Cox Photography / Shutterstock