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Prunus cerasifera - Ehrh.                
                 
Common Name Cherry Plum, Myrobalan Plum, Newport Cherry Plum, Pissard Plum
Family Rosaceae
Synonyms P. domestica myrobalan.
Known Hazards Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range W. Asia? Original habitat is obscure. Often planted in hedgerows in Britain but rarely naturalized.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       
Bloom Color: Pink, White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Rounded, Vase.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Prunus cerasifera is a deciduous Tree growing to 9 m (29ft) by 9 m (29ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower in March, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

USDA hardiness zone : 5-8


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Prunus cerasifera Cherry Plum, Myrobalan Plum, Newport Cherry Plum, Pissard Plum


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Alvesgaspar
Prunus cerasifera Cherry Plum, Myrobalan Plum, Newport Cherry Plum, Pissard Plum
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Bogdan
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Hedge;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked in pies, tarts, jams etc[2, 5, 12, 34, 183]. The size of a small plum with a thin skin and a nice sweet flavour[183]. The flesh is somewhat mealy but is also juicy[K]. The fruit can hang on the tree until October[K]. The fruit is about 30mm in diameter and contains one large seed[200]. Seed - raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter - see the notes above on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Bach.

The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Desperation', 'Fear of losing control of the mind' and 'Dread of doing some frightful thing'[209]. It is also one of the five ingredients in the 'Rescue remedy'[209]. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being[238].
Other Uses
Dye;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Rootstock;  Shelterbelt.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves[168]. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[168]. Makes quite a good windbreak hedge though it cannot stand too much exposure[1, 11, 29]. Often used as a rootstock for the cultivated plums, giving them a semi-dwarfing habit[61].
Cultivation details                                         
Landscape Uses:Specimen. Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil[1, 11]. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position[11, 200]. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone[11]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers some chalk in the soil but apt to become chlorotic if too much is present[1]. A very ornamental plant[1], it is sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit, unfortunately this is not often borne in large quantities in Britain[3, 17], but large crops are produced every 4 years or so[K]. There are some named varieties[183]. Included as a part of P. divaricata by some botanists[11] though others include P. divaricata as a sub-species under this species[200]. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged[238]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Blooms are very showy.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - requires 2 - 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[200]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[200]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate[113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring. Division of suckers in the dormant season. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Ehrh.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
11200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[3]Simmons. A. E. Growing Unusual Fruit.
A very readable book with information on about 100 species that can be grown in Britain (some in greenhouses) and details on how to grow and use them.
[5]Mabey. R. Food for Free.
Edible wild plants found in Britain. Fairly comprehensive, very few pictures and rather optimistic on the desirability of some of the plants.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[12]Loewenfeld. C. and Back. P. Britain's Wild Larder.
A handy pocket guide.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[29]Shepherd. F.W. Hedges and Screens.
A small but informative booklet giving details of all the hedging plants being grown in the R.H.S. gardens at Wisley in Surrey.
[34]Harrison. S. Wallis. M. Masefield. G. The Oxford Book of Food Plants.
Good drawings of some of the more common food plants from around the world. Not much information though.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[113]Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
[168]Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[209]Chancellor. P. M. Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies
Details the 38 remedies plus how and where to prescribe them.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Hristo Hristov Tue Jul 8 18:34:59 2003

Link: Prunus cerasifera Description, seeds (for swap) and some images of the Bulgarian cultivars of Prunus cerasifera.

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