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Prunus fruticosa - Pall.

Common Name Mongolian Cherry, European dwarf cherry
Family Rosaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
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 Thickets and dry grassland[50]. Forest-steppes and steppe zone, broad-leaved forest margins, shrubby thickets, steppes and open dry slopes in Tibet[266].
Range Europe to western and central Asia.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Prunus fruticosa Mongolian Cherry, European dwarf cherry


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Prunus fruticosa Mongolian Cherry, European dwarf cherry
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Prunus fruticosa is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

P. chamaecerasus. Cerasus sylvestris.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Seed
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked. A cherry-like flavour but very harsh and acid[11, 105]. A tart flavour, it can also be made into preserves or dried for later use[183]. The fruit is about 15mm 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.


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].

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Edible Shrubs Book

Other Uses

Dye

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves[168]. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[168].

Special Uses

Food Forest

Cultivation details

Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, growing well on limestone[11, 200]. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present[1]. Requires a sunny position[11, 45]. Trees are said to have withstood temperatures down to -45°c in their native habitat[183]. 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]. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is multistemmed with multiple stems from the crown [1-2].

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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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[113]. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring. Division of suckers during the dormant season. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Prunus cerasus austeraMorello CherryTree9.0 3-7  LMHSNM31 
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Prunus cerasus frutescensBush Sour CherryTree1.0 3-7  LMHSNM313
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Subject : Prunus fruticosa  
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