Sour cherry Prunus cerasus, photographed by Martha Modzelevich.

Belongs within: Rosaceae.

Prunus is a genus of trees and shrubs native to Eurasia and North America, though several species have become distributed elsewhere through human horticulture. Members of the genus are noted for their fleshy fruits with a central stone. A number of species are significant food plants, such as P. persica (peach), P. domestica (plum), P. avium (sweet cherry) and P. armeniaca (apricot), and these and other species are also grown as ornamentals. The almond Prunus dulcis differs from other cultivated species in that it is the kernel of the seed that is eaten, rather than the flesh of the fruit itself. The wood of some species is also used for purposes such as furniture production.

Characters (from Gu & Bartholomew): Trees or shrubs, deciduous. Branchlets sometimes spine-tipped. Axillary winter bud solitary, ovoid; terminal winter bud absent. Stipules membranous, soon caducous. Leaves simple, alternate, convolute (or conduplicate) when young; petiolate or sessile; petiole apex or base of leaf blade margin with or without nectaries; leaf blade margin variously crenate or coarsely serrate. Inflorescences apparently axillary, solitary or to 3-flowered in a fascicle; bracts small, soon caducous. Flowers opening before or at same time as leaves. Hypanthium campanulate. Sepals 5, imbricate. Petals 5, white, sometimes purple-veined, rarely greenish, inserted on rim of hypanthium, imbricate. Stamens 20–30, in 2 whorls; filaments unequal. Carpel 1; ovary superior, 1-loculed, glabrous or sometimes villous; ovules 2, collateral, pendulous. Style terminal, elongated. Fruit a drupe, glabrous, often glaucous, usually with a longitudinal groove; mesocarp fleshy, not splitting when ripe; endocarp laterally compressed, smooth, rarely grooved or rugose.

    |--P. africana K09
    |--P. americana B75
    |--P. armeniaca R-CT01
    |--P. avium C55
    |--P. buergeriana LO98
    |--P. cerasifera EH03
    |--P. cerasoides MH98
    |--P. cerasus C55
    |--P. dolichobotrys [incl. Combretum flavo-virens Laut. 1912] C78
    |--P. domestica HH03
    |--P. dulcis R-CT01
    |--P. grayana [incl. P. ssiori] LO98
    |--P. insititia C55
    |--P. jamasakura [incl. P. pseudo-cerasus] LO98
    |--P. lannesiana MH98
    |--P. laurocerasus BS01
    |--P. mahaleb H91
    |--P. martabanicus CMT07
    |--P. maximowiczii LO98
    |--P. mira O88
    |    |--P. m. ssp. mira O88
    |    `--P. m. ssp. nepalensis O88
    |--P. mume LO98
    |--P. myrtifolia J87
    |--P. occidentalis J87
    |--P. padus ZB01
    |--P. pendula LO98
    |    |--P. p. f. pendula LO98
    |    `--P. p. f. ascendens [incl. P. subhirtella] LO98
    |--P. persica SW03 [=Amygdalus persica LO98]
    |--P. prostrata SL06
    |--P. salicina HF03
    |--P. serotina H03
    |--P. spinosa BH02
    `--P. yedoensis MH98

*Type species of generic name indicated


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[EH03] Eriksson, T., M. S. Hibbs, A. D. Yoder, C. F. Delwiche & M. J. Donoghue. 2003. The phylogeny of Rosoideae (Rosaceae) based on sequences of the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA and the trnL/F region of chloroplast DNA. International Journal of Plant Science 164 (2): 197-211.

[HF03] Halperin, J. & J. Fremuth. 2003. Contribution to the knowledge of Curculionoidea (Coleoptera) and their host plants in Israel. Zoology in the Middle East 29: 93-100.

[H03] Healy, R. A. 2003. Mattirolomyces tiffanyae, a new truffle from Iowa, with ultrastructural evidence for its classification in the Pezizaceae. Mycologia 95 (4): 765-772.

[HH03] Hernández, J. R., & J. F. Hennen. 2003. Rust fungi causing galls, witches’ brooms, and other abnormal plant growths in northwestern Argentina. Mycologia 95 (4): 728-755.

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[J87] Judd, W. S. 1987. Floristic study of Morne La Visite and Pic Macaya National Parks, Haiti. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum—Biological Sciences 32 (1): 1-136.

[K09] Kelbessa, E. 2009. Three new species of Acanthaceae from Ethiopia. Kew Bulletin 64 (1): 57-65.

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[ZB01] Zhang, N., & M. Blackwell. 2001. Molecular phylogeny of dogwood anthracnose fungus (Discula destructiva) and the Diaporthales. Mycologia 93 (2): 355-365.

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