myrobalan plum

Cherry plum

The Cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera, syn. P. divaricata), also called Myrobalan (plum) and Purple leaf plum, is a species of plum native to central and eastern Europe, southwest and central Asia.

It is a large shrub or small tree reaching 6-15 m tall, with deciduous leaves 4-6 cm long. It is one of the first European trees to flower in spring, often starting in mid February; the flowers are white, 1.5-2 cm across, with five petals. The fruit is a drupe 2-3 cm in diameter and yellow or red colour; it is edible, and reaches maturity from mid-August to mid-September.

Cultivation and uses

The fruit can be red or yellow depending on cultivar. It may be eaten fresh in some forms, being sweet with a good flavour, while others are sour, but excellent for jam making.

Cherry Plum is a very popular ornamental tree in gardens, grown for its very early flowering. Numerous cultivars have been developed, many of them selected for purple foliage and pink flowers, such as Prunus cerasifera 'Pissardii' and 'Nigra'. These purple-foliage forms also have dark purple fruit, which make an attractive, intensely coloured jam. Others, such as 'Lindsayae', have pale pink flowers and green foliage.

NB: Cherry plum is different from Mirabelle.

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