Prunus

Sour cherry Prunus cerasus, photographed by Martha Modzelevich.

Belongs within: Rosales.

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). These and other species are also grown as ornamentals. The almond P. 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. Seeds of other species (as well as of varieties of almond not selected for raw consumption) are often toxic due to the presence of hydrocyanic acid. The wood of some species is also used for purposes such as furniture production. The blackthorn P. spinosa, a native of the western Palaearctic, has been grown for cattle-proof hedges.

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.

<==Prunus [incl. Cerasus, Padus]H90
    |--P. africanaE09
    |--P. americanaB75
    |--P. amygdalusS00
    |--P. andersoniiH93
    |--P. arboreaKAB91
    |--P. armeniacaR-CT01
    |--P. aviumC55
    |--P. buergerianaLO98
    |--P. cerasiferaEH03
    |--P. cerasoidesMH98
    |--P. cerasusC55
    |--P. dolichobotrys [incl. Combretum flavo-virens Laut. 1912]C78
    |--P. domesticaHH03
    |--P. dulcisH93
    |--P. emarginataH93
    |--P. fasciculataH93
    |    |--P. f. var. fasciculataH93
    |    `--P. f. var. punctataH93
    |--P. fremontiiH93
    |--P. grayana [incl. P. ssiori]LO98
    |--P. ilicifoliaRJ11
    |    |--P. i. ssp. ilicifoliaH93
    |    `--P. i. ssp. lyoniiH93
    |--P. insititiaC55
    |--P. jamasakura [incl. P. pseudo-cerasus]LO98
    |--P. lannesianaMH98
    |--P. laurocerasusP93
    |--P. lusitanicaH93
    |--P. mahalebH91
    |--P. martabanicusCMT07
    |--P. maximowicziiLO98
    |--P. miraO88
    |    |--P. m. ssp. miraO88
    |    `--P. m. ssp. nepalensisO88
    |--P. mumeLO98
    |--P. myrtifoliaJ87
    |--P. occidentalisJ87
    |--P. padusZB01
    |--P. pendulaLO98
    |    |--P. p. f. pendulaLO98
    |    `--P. p. f. ascendens [incl. P. subhirtella]LO98
    |--P. persicaF11 [=Amygdalus persicaLO98]
    |    |--P. p. var. persicaH90
    |    `--P. p. var. nectarinaH90
    |--P. prostrataSL06
    |--P. salicinaHF03
    |--P. serotinaH03
    |--P. spinosaP93
    |--P. subcordataH93
    |--P. virensS72
    |--P. virginianaP93
    |    |--P. v. var. virginianaH93
    |    `--P. v. var. demissa [incl. P. virginiana var. melanocarpa]H93
    `--P. yedoensisMH98

*Type species of generic name indicated

References

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