Wild types are large shrubs or small trees reaching 6-15 m tall, with deciduous leaves 4-6 cm long. It is one of the first European trees to flower in spring, often starting in mid-February. The flowers are white and about 2 cm across, with five petals. The fruit is a drupe, 2-3 cm in diameter, and yellow or red in colour. It is edible, and reaches maturity from early July to mid-September.
Cultivated cherry plums can have fruits, foliage, and flowers in any of several colors. Some varieties have sweet fruits that can be eaten fresh, while others are sour and better for making jam.
The cherry plum is a popular ornamental tree for garden and landscaping use, grown for its very early flowering. Numerous cultivars have been developed, many of them selected for purple foliage, such as 'Atropurpurea'. These purple-foliage forms (often called purple-leaf plum), also have dark purple fruit, which make an attractive, intensely coloured jam. They can have white or pink flowers. The cultivar 'Thundercloud' has bright red foliage which darkens purple. Others, such as 'Lindsayae', have green foliage. Some kinds of purple-leaf plums are used for bonsai and other forms of living sculpture.
The cherry plum has been listed as one of the 38 plants that are used to prepare Bach flower remedies, a kind of alternative medicine promoted for its effect on health. However according to Cancer Research UK, "there is no scientific evidence to prove that flower remedies can control, cure or prevent any type of disease, including cancer".
|Images of cherry plums|
- "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- UConn Horticulture
- Jepson Manual Treatment
- Washington Burke Museum
- NC State
- Pissard Plum Fact Sheet
- Thundercloud Fact Sheet
- "RHS Plant Selector Prunus cerasifera 'Nigra' AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
- D. S. Vohra (1 June 2004). Bach Flower Remedies: A Comprehensive Study. B. Jain Publishers. p. 3. ISBN 978-81-7021-271-3. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- "Flower remedies". Cancer Research UK. Retrieved September 2013.
Media related to Prunus cerasifera at Wikimedia Commons