Prunus cerasifera Ehrh.


A deciduous tree to 8 m tall, becoming round-headed with age. Leaves elliptic to ovate, slightly acuminate, green to deep purple-red in some cultivars, margin teeth with pointed tips. Flowers mostly in 1s and 2s, appearing with the earliest leaves, but sometimes 3 flowers per axillary bud, white, 2-2.5 cm wide, buds may be clustered on short spurs, flower stalks to 1.5 cm long. Fruit with smooth red skin, edible.

The cultivars and hybrids of P. cerasifera, are probably the most widely planted Prunus in SE Australia.This species can be weedy, and has naturalised in SE Australia.

SE Europe, SW Asia.

VIC: Albury (Bot. Gds).

Source: Spencer, R. (2002). Rosaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Distribution map

Prunus cerasifera 'Atropurpurea'

Bronze leaves, flowers opening white; a fastigiate form of uncertain origin is grown as a street tree in Melbourne (Box Hill, avenue along Belmore Rd, e of Burke Rd).

Prunus cerasifera 'Festeri'

Similar to 'Nigra' but with larger flowers; raised in Goulburn, nsw.

Prunus cerasifera 'Nigra'

Deep purple leaves, pale pink flowers. Specimens act: Manuka (Circle). Vic: Colac (Bot. Gds); Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds).

Prunus cerasifera 'Pissardii'

Similar to above but growth habit less erect, with a broader, flatter crown and flowers almost white. This cultivar is often treated as synonymous with 'Atropurpurea' but research is needed to determine if this is so for plants in Australia. Specimens act: Canberra (Canadian High Commission, ptd Dame Pattie Menzies 30 Jan 1965); Manuka (Flinders Way). Vic: Colac (Bot. Gds); Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds).

Prunus cerasifera 'Vesuvius'

Similar to p. cerasifera 'Atropurpurea' but with larger leaves.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Rosanae
order      Rosales
family       Rosaceae
genus        Prunus L.