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Prunus subg. Cerasus

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True cherries
Illustration of Prunus cerasus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Prunus subg. Cerasus
(Mill.) A.Gray, 1856

See text

Prunus subg. Cerasus is a subgenus of Prunus. Species of the subgenus have a single winter bud per axil.[1][note 1] The flowers are usually in small corymbs or umbels of several together (occasionally solitary, e.g. P. serrula), but some species have short racemes (e.g. P. maacki). The fruit is a drupe and has no obvious groove along the side.[1] The subgenus is native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with two species in North America (P. emarginata and P. pensylvanica), four in Europe (P. avium, P. cerasus, P. fruticosa and P. mahaleb), two in North Africa (P. avium and P. mahaleb), and the remainder in Asia.

The fresh fruits of sweet cherry (worldwide) and Chinese cherry (in China) are consumed raw. The fruits of some species such as sour cherry are used to make desserts, sauce, jam and wine. The seeds of mahaleb cherry are used to make mahleb. Many species are cultivated as an ornamental tree, known as cherry blossoms.



Species of Prunus subg. Cerasus are known as true cherries,[2] which include:

Nothospecies in this subgenus include:

Many Prunus species are called "cherries" but not included in this subgenus. They are not considered true cherries.[2] Examples are:


  1. ^ The species originally included in this subgenus with three axillary winter buds have been moved into the subgenus Prunus.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Cerasus in Flora of China". eFloras.org. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  2. ^ a b c d e Shi, Shuo; Li, Jinlu; Sun, Jiahui; Yu, Jing; Zhou, Shiliang (2013). "Phylogeny and Classification of Prunus sensu lato (Rosaceae)". Journal of Integrative Plant Biology. 55 (11): 1069–1079. doi:10.1111/jipb.12095. ISSN 1744-7909. PMID 23945216.
  3. ^ Wen, Jun; Berggren, Scott T.; Lee, Chung-Hee; Ickert-Bond, Stefanie; Yi, Ting-Shuang; Yoo, Ki-Oug; Xie, Lei; Shaw, Joey; Potter, Dan (2008-04-25). "Phylogenetic inferences in Prunus (Rosaceae) using chloroplast ndhF and nuclear ribosomal ITS sequences". Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 46 (3): 322–332. doi:10.3724/SP.J.1002.2008.08065 (inactive 31 January 2024). ISSN 1674-4918.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of January 2024 (link)
  4. ^ Zhao, Liang; Potter, Daniel; Xu, Yuan; Liu, Pei-Liang; Johnson, Gabriel; Chang, Zhao-Yang; Wen, Jun (2018). "Phylogeny and spatio-temporal diversification of Prunus subgenus Laurocerasus section Mesopygeum (Rosaceae) in the Malesian region". Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 56 (6): 637–651. doi:10.1111/jse.12467. ISSN 1759-6831. S2CID 91574826.