Cherry Plum © Paula Côrte-Real

Cherry Plum

Prunus cerasifera

Family and description

From the Rosaceae family, it is a small deciduous tree that can reach about 8 m in height.

It has smooth and shiny branches.

It is characterized by its purple foliage. The alternate, elliptical, finely toothed, smooth and glossy leaves, of about 6cm long, are red in spring and purple in summer.

Flowering is very abundant, being one of the first trees to flourish in late winter, early spring, before the foliage. The flowers are pinkish-white with 5 petals, hermaphrodite and radially symmetrical.

The fruits are globular and purple in colour, ripening in late summer.

Origin and habitat

Originally from the Balkan Peninsula and Crimea, it is a tree widely used as ornamental in parks and gardens in Portugal.

Uses and curiosities

The fruits are edible and can be sweet and tasty or acidic, often used in jams.

It has no requirements as to the type of soil, even growing on poor but well-drained soils with sufficient moisture. However, it grows better in soils with a rich surface layer and in a situation of good sun exposure or partial shade.

Withstands medium droughts, frosts, and some contamination. It requires low maintenance and can be propagated by seeds or cuttings; the varieties by grafting.

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