Prunus cerasus

tree of the Rosaceae family, genus Prunus
(Apricot tree, Almond tree, Cherry, Cherrylaurel, Wild cherry tree, Peach, Cherry Plum).

The trees of this family, genus Prunus, share to produce a fleshy drupe (commonly called the fruit) coming from the single one carpel, which envelops a stone.
Etymology: "cherry" comes from Latin cerasus, according to the city of Cerasonte (province of the Pont, now Turkey).
Origin: Asia. In 73 before JC, the consul Lucullus beats Mithridate and wins Cerasonte. Among the trophies, he brings back the cherry tree with soft fruit. Until then, the Romans knew a wild cherry tree with bitter cherries.
Varieties-species: among the European species, one differentiate: Prunus avium, the cherry tree of birds or wild cherry tree, Prunus mahaleb, the St Lucie cherry, so named because it is met in the Vosges, near the Franciscan monastery of St Lucia, with bitter and small fruits. The cherry laurel is not a cherry tree but it belongs to the genus Prunus and its fruits remind cherries.
Hardiness: zone 8 (it supports cold until -12 °C or 10 °F).
Lifespan: 50 years, until 100 years (branches become brittle and dangerous). Diseases sometimes reduce the life.
Height: 9-10 m.
Shape: spread. Branches are ascending when the tree is young.
Black smooth bark with purple tint, shedding in circular bands. Elliptical, horizontal lenticels, characterise the Cherry (and the Wild cherry tree).

cherry tree

Prunus serrula

Deciduous foliage. Elliptical leaves, of 12 cm long, slightly heart-shaped base on some varieties (Bird cherry, Prunus padus), tip (apex) acute (acuminate), roughly toothed margin. On the underside, the sides of the ridge are lined with red hair. At the base of the lamina, two or three nectaries (glands melliferous) secrete a sweet liquid that attracts ants, which thanked the cherry tree by protecting it from insects that can chew the leaves (typical of Prunus species).
Flowers: white of 2 cm in diameter, carried by one pedicel 2 cm and grouped in clusters. They appear in March-April before the leaves or at the beginning of the stripping of leaves. Blossoming lasts 3-4 weeks. Flowers attract insects and honeybees which take responsibility for the pollination. It is necessary to plant at least two feet of distinct parents to get the fructification.
Fruits: the different varieties of cherry trees produce table cherries. Morello cherries come from some varieties of cherry trees, while guignes and bigarreaux come from the Wild cherry tree. If cherries are most often eaten crude, sour cherries are reputed in jam or soaked in some brandy. One still draws cherry kirsch and maraschino.

Legends and traditions: In the Limousin, they say that if it is raining at Holly Eutrope (April 30th), fruits will be "maimed" (damaged). Another saying:
A Saint-Rufin,
Cerises à plein jardin.
(At Saint-Rufin, Garden full of Cherries.)

Song on cherry trees: the cherry trees of J. Ferrat.

except the orchard, the cherry tree is famous for its wood. It has a fine grain, rich color or amber-colored wine and polishes very well, its greatest default is to be unsustainable, even when parts are not exposed to the elements. Note that plant species do not have the same name in woodworking and horticulture.

Advices of maintenance: for the pruning of the fruit trees, see the page.
As most fruit trees, the cherry tree is threatened by bacteria, insects and of other diseases: the calyx of cherries lays on the fruit and the worm develops near the stone.
For the treatment, see this page.

Species and varieties: there are 23 species of cherry trees native to China, 13 in Japan, 8 in America, and 5 in Europe.

the cherry trees of Japan were introduced into Europe by 1860. They are decorative favour their abundant pink flowers (ex: Prunus serrulata). A variety flourishes in winter and again in spring. The flower is said "double", because it includes a big number of petals coming from the transformation of stamens or from pistil rooms. So, it is sterile and the tree which carries it does not produce fruit (ex: decorative cherry trees).
Legends and traditions: In Japan, this cherry tree species is an ornamental tree, blest in shintô religion. Its blossoming, superb, short-term, in fact a symbol of precariousness. It is also the emblem of the Samurais.

Cherry of the Tibet (Prunus serrula): originated from Yunnan and from Sechuan (China), decorative species thanks to its remarkable bark, orange, smooth and bright as of the polished mahogany tree, shedding in fine horizontal strips. Lenticels are broad and brown Its leaf is close to that of the common cherry tree, but less broad. Its crown is broad, in dome, dense, with big branches bent towards the outside and robust stems inserted on them. Its flowers are abundant, of 2 cm, grouped by 2 or 3, pendulous.

cherry tree in flower in October

Prunus serrulata

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