Cherry plum

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Cherry plum
Prunus cerasifera JPG1a.jpg
Wildpflaume Althof-2.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Prunus
Section: Prunus
Species: P. cerasifera
Binomial name
Prunus cerasifera
Ehrh. 1784 not Popov 1929 nor Lecoq & Lamotte 1848

Prunus cerasifera is a species of plum known by the common names cherry plum and myrobalan plum.[2] It is native to Southeast Europe[3][4][5] and Western Asia,[2][6] and is naturalised in the British Isles[3] and scattered locations in North America.[7][8][9]

Wild types are large shrubs or small trees reaching 8–(12) m (25–40 feet) tall, sometimes spiny, with glabrous, ovate deciduous leaves 3–7 cm (1.5–2.5 inches) long.[3]:196 It is one of the first European trees to flower in spring,[3] often starting in mid-February before the leaves have opened. The flowers are white or pale pink and about 2 cm (0.8 inches) across, with five petals and many stamens. The fruit is an edible drupe, 2–3 cm in diameter, ripening to yellow or red from early July to mid-September. They are self-fertile but can also be pollinated by other Prunus varieties such as the Victoria plum.[10] The plant propagates by seed or by suckering, and is often used as the rootstock for other Prunus species and cultivars.[3]

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 P cerasifera var pissardii (Carrière) L.H. Bailey (P. 'Atropurpurea').[3][11] The variety 'Nigra' with black foliage and pink flowers, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[12] Prunus × cistena (purple leaf sand cherry) a hybrid of Prunus cerasifera and Prunus pumila, the sand cherry, also won the Award of Garden Merit.[13][14] 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.[15] Others, such as 'Lindsayae', have green foliage. Some kinds of purple-leaf plums are used for bonsai[11] and other forms of living sculpture.

Cultivated cherry plums can have fruits, foliage, and flowers in any of several colours. Some varieties have sweet fruits that can be eaten fresh, while others are sour and better for making jam. Cherry plums are a key ingredient in Georgian cuisine where they are used to produce tkemali sauce, as well as a number of popular dishes, such as kharcho soup and chakapuli stew.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Prunus 'pissardii' and Prunus 'pissardii nigra' are cases of named cultivars sidling their way into being given binomial-style names


External links[edit]