|Prunus cerasifera subsp. var.||Cherry plum, Myrobalan plum|
Wild types are large shrubs or small trees reaching 6-15 meters tall, with deciduous leaves 4 to 6 centimeters long. It is one of the first European trees to flower in spring, often starting in mid-February. The flowers are white and about 2 centimeters across, with five petals. The fruit is a drupe 2 or 3 centimeters in diameter and yellow or red in colour. It is edible, and reaches maturity from early-July to mid-September.
Cultivated cherry plums can have fruits, foliage, and flowers in any of several colors. Some varieties have sweet fruits that can be eaten fresh, while others are sour and better for making jam.
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 'Atropurpurea'. 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. Others, such as 'Lindsayae', have green foliage. Some kinds of purple-leaf plums are used for bonsai and other forms of living sculpture.
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Prunus cerasifera, Ehrh. (P. domestica var. Myrobalan, Linn. P. Myrobalana, Loisel.). Cherry Plum. Slender twiggy grower, often thorny, the tree small or sometimes shrub-like; twigs usually soon becoming glabrous: lvs. rather small and thin, also lightish green, becoming nearly or quite glabrous, short-ovate and short pointed, finely serrate: fls. rather small as compared with most forms of P. domestica, white or blush, slender-stalked: fr. small (usually 1 in. or less diam.), globular and cherry-like, depressed about the st., yellow or red, the flesh soft, juicy, and sweet-flavored. Probably native to the Caucasus and S. W. Asia, although early attributed to N. Amer.—The Myrobalan plum is a culture-form of this species, with rather large and good fr., by some regarded as a subspecies or variety Myro- balana. It is extensively used in this country as a stock on which to bud the domestica plums, the seedlings being imported in great quantities from Eu. It is a smaller tree than P. domestica, with much more slender growth, smoother twigs and lvs., smaller and mostly earlier fls., and also smaller softer fr. with a depression about the st. It tends to dwarf the domestica plums; but its influence in this direction is not sufficient to discourage its use as a stock. Its advantages as a stock are its cheapness, the ease with which all domestica varieties "take" on it, and the readiness with which it can be grown in the nursery row. It is not used to any extent as stocks for other plums than the domesticas. Spontaneous trees are sometimes found about old nursery grounds, and it occasionally appears in orchards when the top of a plum tree dies and sprouts arise from the root. There are also a few varieties prop, for the early juicy frs., but they are little known. It makes a good ornamental tree. The Marianna, much used for stocks of many kinds of plums in the S. (and growing from cuttings), is probably a hybrid of this species with P. hortulana or P. angustifolia. There are several cult, forms of P. cerasifera, one of the best being the plant known as P.planteriensis, Hort., with full double white and red fls. There are also forms with yellow- and white- variegated lvs., and a weeping form (var. pendula, Hort.). A form with narrow willow-like lvs. (var. acuti- folia or angustifolia, Hort.) is also advertised. A form with twisted or contorted foliage is shown in R.H.
Var. Pissirdii, Koehne (P. Pissardii, Carr. P. cerasifera var. atropurpurea, Dipp.). A handsome form with purple lvs. and dark wine-red fr.—Intro, into France by Pissard, gardener to the Shah of Persia, and first fully described in Revue Horticole in 1881. It is a cultural form of P. cerasifera. It is one of the best of all small purple-lvd. trees, holding much of its color in the American summers. It seems to be hardy wherever the common plum will stand. The best color is secured on the strong growths; therefore it is well to head back the tree frequently.— A recent form known as Spaethiana, has very deep- colored and shining foliage, retaining its color (in Eu.) through summer and autumn. A form known as Moseri flore-pleno has double pink fls. The form called Hessei (P. Pissardii var. Hessei, Purp.) has narrow irregularly cut and toothed usually long-acuminate lvs., red with a broad greenish yellow or crimson-red border. Purpusii (P. Pissdrdii var. Purpusii, Hesse) has lvs. similar in shape to those of usual var. Pissardii, dark red and variegated with yellow and bright rose. The form nigra has very dark purple lvs. Blirieana (P. Blirieana flore- pleno, Carr.) is a very handsome form with long slender branches bearing purple-tinted foliage and semi-double apple-blossom-pink fls.
Var. divaricata, Bailey (P. divaricata, Ledeb. P. cerasifera subsp. divaricata, Schneid.). Branching from the base, the branches wide-spreading and some of them nearly or quite prostrate: lvs. broader toward the base: fr. not depressed about the St., yellow. Macedonia to N. Persia. CH
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- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963
- w:Prunus cerasifera. Some of the material on this page may be from Wikipedia, under the Creative Commons license.
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