Prunus subg. Padus

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Bird cherries
Prunus virginiana0.jpg
Prunus virginiana
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Prunus subg. Padus
(Mill.) Turcz.

See text

Prunus subg. Padus, the bird cherries, is a subgenus of Prunus, characterised by having deciduous leaves, flowers 12–30 together on slender racemes produced in late spring well after leaf emergence, and small, sour fruit usually only palatable to birds, hence the name. They are native throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere.

Bird cherries are sometimes used as a food plant by Lepidoptera species including brimstone moth.

Some bird cherries, such as chokecherries, are used to make jelly and wine in North America.[1]

Some botanists treated the subgenus as a distinct genus Padus. Genetic and morphological studies have shown that Padus is polyphyletic and therefore should not be used as a taxon name.[2]



In Finland and Sweden, the blooming of bird cherry (Prunus padus, Finnish tuomi) signifies the start of the summer for many people. In southern Finland, this normally takes place during the two last weeks of May or very early June.


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  2. ^ Liu, Xiao-Lin; Wen, Jun; Nie, Ze-Long; Johnson, Gabriel; Liang, Zong-Suo; Chang, Zhao-Yang (14 December 2012). "Polyphyly of the Padus group of Prunus (Rosaceae) and the evolution of biogeographic disjunctions between eastern Asia and eastern North America". Journal of Plant Research. 126 (3): 351–361. doi:10.1007/s10265-012-0535-1. PMID 23239308.
  • North Dakota State University agriculture information page about Prunus virginiana [1]