Prunus grayana

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Prunus grayana
P grayana2.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Padus[1] or Cerasus[citation needed]
Species: P. grayana
Binomial name
Prunus grayana
  • Padus acrophylla C.K.Schneid.
  • Padus grayana (Maxim.) C.K.Schneid.

Prunus grayana (syn. Padus grayana (Maxim.) C.K.Schneid., Prunus padus var. japonica Miq.; Japanese bird cherry or Gray's bird cherry; Japanese ウワミズザクラ Uwa-mizu-zakura; Chinese 灰叶稠李 hui ye chou li) is a species of cherry native to Japan and China, occurring at medium altitudes of 1,000–3,800 m in the temperate zone. It prefers sunshine and moist (but drained) soil.[3][4][5]

It is a small deciduous tree reaching a height of 8–20 m. The trunk is slender with smooth grey to purple-grey bark marked with horizontal brown lenticels, with a strong smell when cut. The leaves are elliptical to ovoid, 4–10 cm long and 1.8–4.5 cm broad, with a serrated margin with aristate tips to the serrations. The lowest teeth of a leaf feature two glands. The flowers are produced on 5–8 cm long racemes, each flower 7–10 mm diameter, with five white petals; they are hermaphroditic, and appear in mid-spring after the leaves. The fruit is a small drupe, about 8 mm in diameter, green at first, then red and finally ripening black in mid summer.[3][4][6][7]

It is very closely related to Prunus padus (Bird cherry), differing in the aristate tips to the leaf serration (blunt-pointed in P. padus), and the longer style in the flower.[7][8]


The flowers, fruit and seed are all edible and are prepared and eaten in Japan. The fruit can be preserved with salt to make a dish called Anningo. The bark and roots are the source of a green dye. The wood is very hard and fissable. It is used in various cabinet-making and various other ornamental applications.[4][9]


The taxon was described in 1864 by Miquel as Prunus padus var. japonica, on the basis of specimens collected by Siebold.[10] After a review of the previous literature, Maximowicz in St. Petersburg decided in 1883[11] the tree was a distinct species, and named it Prunus grayana after Asa Gray.


  1. ^ Rehder, A. 1940, reprinted 1977. Manual of cultivated trees and shrubs hardy in North America exclusive of the subtropical and warmer temperate regions. Macmillan publishing Co., Inc, New York.
  2. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Flora of China: Padus grayana
  4. ^ a b c Japanese Tree Encyclopedia: Uwamizuzakura Prunus grayana
  5. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Prunus grayana
  6. ^ Botanic Japan: Prunus grayana (in Japanese; google translation.
  7. ^ a b Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  8. ^ Flora of China: Padus
  9. ^ Plants for a Future: Prunus grayana
  10. ^ Ohba, H., Akiyama, S., & Thijsse, G. (2003). Miquel's new taxa of the vascular plants described from Japan in Prolusio Florae Japonicae and some other works. Page 3
  11. ^ Maximovicz, J.C. (1883). "Diagnoses plantarum asiaticarum". Bulletin de l'Académie Impériale des sciences. XXIX (27): 51–228.  For the details of the publication including the dates of the volumes and the reprint of the article in Mélange ... see Pagès, Léon; Wenckstern, Friedrich von; Palmgren, Valfrid (1895). A Bibliography of the Japanese Empire. Leiden: E. J. Brill. p. 223. 

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