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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 474–475. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/22/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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4. Prunus cerasus L. (sour cherry)

Pl. 537 h; Map 2474

Plants shrubs or small trees, 3–5(–10) m tall, suckering, sometimes producing thickets. Branches unarmed. Twigs glabrous, producing a terminal winter bud. Petioles 16–20 mm long, glabrous, lacking glands or sometimes with 1 or 2 large discoid glands along the margins of the blade base. Leaf blades 4.5–6.0(–8.0) cm long, 2.8–4.0(–6.0) cm wide, less than 2 times as long as wide, broadly elliptic to ovate or obovate, angled to broadly angled or rounded at the base, angled or short-tapered to a sharply pointed tip, the margins finely and doubly toothed or scalloped, the more or less rounded teeth gland-tipped, the upper surface glabrous, the undersurface glabrous or sparsely hairy along the main veins. Inflorescences mostly produced as the leaves develop (rarely before the leaves, more commonly continuing to develop after the leaves are more than half-grown), of solitary flowers per bud or umbellate clusters of 2–4 flowers per bud, the flower stalks 8–37 mm long, glabrous. Flowers with the hypanthium 4–6 mm long, narrowly bell-shaped, glabrous. Sepals 4–7 mm long, reflexed at flowering, oblong, the margins glandular-toothed, the inner surface glabrous. Petals 10–14 mm long, nearly circular, white. Fruits 13–20 mm long, globose, not grooved, the surface bright red, glabrous, not glaucous, the fleshy layer well-developed, the stone subglobose, not flattened, the surface relatively smooth. 2n=32. April–May.

Introduced, uncommon, widely scattered in the state (cultigen of Eurasian origin; introduced widely but sporadically in the U.S., Canada). Edges of mesic upland forests; also old homesites and open, disturbed areas.

Sour cherries are eaten fresh, but more often are used in pies, cobblers, other baked goods, jams, and jellies, or dried. In addition to its use as a commercial fruit tree, several cultivars of P. cerasus exist that are grown as ornamentals, including some with doubled flowers. Steyermark (1963) noted that this taxon is more shade-tolerant than most other fruit tree species.



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