St Lucie cherry, Mahaleb cherry, Prunus mahaleb

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, have in common to produce a fleshy drupe (commonly called the fruit) coming from the single one carpel, which envelops a stone.
Etymology: "cherry tree" comes from Latin cerasus, according to the city of Cerasonte (province of the Bridge, current Turkey). "St Lucia" reminds that it is met in the Vosges, near the Franciscan monastery St Lucia.
Height: 8 m tall.
Black smooth bark with purple, shedding in circular bands. Elliptical, horizontal lenticels, characterise Cherries (and the Wild cherry tree).
Deciduous foliage. Round leaves, petiolate, of 5 cm long, with right base, tip (apex) barely acute, toothed margin. The top is dark green. At the root of blade, two or three nectaries (glands melliferous) secrete a sweet liquid which attracts ants, which thank the cherry tree by protecting it from insects likely to gnaw at leaves (distinctive of the species of the genus Prunus).
Flowers: 5 white petals, in April.
Fruits: small and bitter cherries.

Uses: the St Lucia wood is of a very good quality. It serves for making pipes, even if this wood is nicknamed "wild cherry tree of pipes".


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