Prunus

Prunus

Overview
Prunus is a genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 of tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s and shrub
Shrub
A shrub or bush is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 5–6 m tall. A large number of plants may become either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions they experience...

s, which includes the plum
Plum
A plum or gage is a stone fruit tree in the genus Prunus, subgenus Prunus. The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera in the shoots having a terminal bud and solitary side buds , the flowers in groups of one to five together on short stems, and the fruit having a groove running down one...

s, cherries
Cherry
The cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy stone fruit. The cherry fruits of commerce are usually obtained from a limited number of species, including especially cultivars of the wild cherry, Prunus avium....

, peach
Peach
The peach tree is a deciduous tree growing to tall and 6 in. in diameter, belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae. It bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach...

es, apricot
Apricot
The apricot, Prunus armeniaca, is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation.- Description :...

s and almond
Almond
The almond , is a species of tree native to the Middle East and South Asia. Almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree...

s. There are around 430 species spread throughout the northern temperate regions of the globe. Many members of the genus are widely cultivated for fruit and ornament.

Members of the genus can be deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 or evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

. A few species have spiny stems. The leaves are simple, alternate, usually lanceolate
Leaf shape
In botany, leaf shape is characterised with the following terms :* Acicular : Slender and pointed, needle-like* Acuminate : Tapering to a long point...

, unlobed, and often with nectaries on the leaf stalk.
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Encyclopedia
Prunus is a genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 of tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s and shrub
Shrub
A shrub or bush is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 5–6 m tall. A large number of plants may become either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions they experience...

s, which includes the plum
Plum
A plum or gage is a stone fruit tree in the genus Prunus, subgenus Prunus. The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera in the shoots having a terminal bud and solitary side buds , the flowers in groups of one to five together on short stems, and the fruit having a groove running down one...

s, cherries
Cherry
The cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy stone fruit. The cherry fruits of commerce are usually obtained from a limited number of species, including especially cultivars of the wild cherry, Prunus avium....

, peach
Peach
The peach tree is a deciduous tree growing to tall and 6 in. in diameter, belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae. It bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach...

es, apricot
Apricot
The apricot, Prunus armeniaca, is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation.- Description :...

s and almond
Almond
The almond , is a species of tree native to the Middle East and South Asia. Almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree...

s. There are around 430 species spread throughout the northern temperate regions of the globe. Many members of the genus are widely cultivated for fruit and ornament.

Botany


Members of the genus can be deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 or evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

. A few species have spiny stems. The leaves are simple, alternate, usually lanceolate
Leaf shape
In botany, leaf shape is characterised with the following terms :* Acicular : Slender and pointed, needle-like* Acuminate : Tapering to a long point...

, unlobed, and often with nectaries on the leaf stalk. The flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s are usually white to pink, sometimes red, with five petal
Petal
Petals are modified leaves that surround the reproductive parts of flowers. They often are brightly colored or unusually shaped to attract pollinators. Together, all of the petals of a flower are called a corolla. Petals are usually accompanied by another set of special leaves called sepals lying...

s and five sepal
Sepal
A sepal is a part of the flower of angiosperms . Collectively the sepals form the calyx, which is the outermost whorl of parts that form a flower. Usually green, sepals have the typical function of protecting the petals when the flower is in bud...

s. There are numerous stamens. Flowers are borne singly, or in umbel
Umbel
An umbel is an inflorescence which consists of a number of short flower stalks which are equal in length and spread from a common point, somewhat like umbrella ribs....

s of two to six or sometimes more on raceme
Raceme
A raceme is a type of inflorescence that is unbranched and indeterminate and bears pedicellate flowers — flowers having short floral stalks called pedicels — along the axis. In botany, axis means a shoot, in this case one bearing the flowers. In a raceme, the oldest flowers are borne...

s. The fruit is a fleshy drupe
Drupe
In botany, a drupe is a fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a shell of hardened endocarp with a seed inside. These fruits develop from a single carpel, and mostly from flowers with superior ovaries...

  (a "prune") with a single relatively large hard coated seed (a "stone").

Within the rose
Rose
A rose is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae. There are over 100 species. They form a group of erect shrubs, and climbing or trailing plants, with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers are large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows...

 family Rosaceae
Rosaceae
Rosaceae are a medium-sized family of flowering plants, including about 2830 species in 95 genera. The name is derived from the type genus Rosa. Among the largest genera are Alchemilla , Sorbus , Crataegus , Cotoneaster , and Rubus...

, it was traditionally placed as a subfamily, the Prunoideae
Prunoideae
Amygdaloideae is a subfamily within the flowering plant family Rosaceae. It was formerly considered by some authors to be separate from Rosaceae, and the family names Prunaceae and Amygdalaceae have been used. Commercially, important members of the Amygdaloideae include plum, cherry, apricot,...

 (or Amygdaloideae), but was sometimes placed in its own family, the Prunaceae (or Amygdalaceae). More recently it has become apparent that Prunus evolved from within subfamily Spiraeoideae
Spiraeoideae
The subfamily Spiraeoideae was traditionally a subfamily of flowering plants within family Rosaceae. The taxonomy of this subfamily has changed several times in the last century as more detailed studies have been carried out...

.

Linnean classification


In 1737 Linnaeus used four genera to include the species of modern Prunus—Amygdalus, Cerasus, Prunus and Padus—but simplified it to Amygdalus and Prunus in 1758. Since then the various genera of Linnaeus and others have become subgenera and sections, as it is clearer that all the species are more closely related. Liberty Hyde Bailey
Liberty Hyde Bailey
Liberty Hyde Bailey was an American horticulturist, botanist and cofounder of the American Society for Horticultural Science.-Biography:...

 says:
"The numerous forms grade into each other so imperceptibly and inextricably that the genus cannot be readily broken up into species."

Modern classification


A recent DNA study of 48 species concluded that Prunus is monophyletic and is descended from some Eurasian ancestor.

Historical treatments break the genus up into several different genera, but this segregation is not currently widely recognised other than at the subgeneric rank. ITIS
Integrated Taxonomic Information System
The Integrated Taxonomic Information System is a partnership designed to provide consistent and reliable information on the taxonomy of biological species. ITIS was originally formed in 1996 as an interagency group within the U.S...

 recognises just the single genus Prunus, with an open list of species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

, all of which are shown below, under "Species".

One standard modern treatment of the subgenera derives from the work of Alfred Rehder
Alfred Rehder
Alfred Rehder was a horticulturist and taxonomist who worked at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Rehder was a newspaper writer from Germany who was originally hired as a laborer at the Arnold Arboretum. His talents for horticultural plant taxonomy were soon recognized, however...

 in 1940. Rehder hypothesized five subgenera: Amygdalus, Prunus, Cerasus, Padus and Laurocerasus. To them C. Ingram added Lithocerasus. The six subgenera are described as follows:
  • Prunus subgenera:
    • Subgenus Amygdalus: almond
      Almond
      The almond , is a species of tree native to the Middle East and South Asia. Almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree...

      s and peach
      Peach
      The peach tree is a deciduous tree growing to tall and 6 in. in diameter, belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae. It bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach...

      es. Axillary buds in threes (vegetative bud central, two flower buds to sides). Flowers in early spring, sessile or nearly so, not on leafed shoots. Fruit with a groove along one side; stone deeply grooved. Type species Prunus dulcis (Almond).
    • Subgenus Prunus: plum
      Plum
      A plum or gage is a stone fruit tree in the genus Prunus, subgenus Prunus. The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera in the shoots having a terminal bud and solitary side buds , the flowers in groups of one to five together on short stems, and the fruit having a groove running down one...

      s and apricot
      Apricot
      The apricot, Prunus armeniaca, is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation.- Description :...

      s. Axillary buds solitary. Flowers in early spring stalked, not on leafed shoots. Fruit with a groove along one side; stone rough. Type species Prunus domestica (plum).
    • Subgenus Cerasus: cherries
      Cherry
      The cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy stone fruit. The cherry fruits of commerce are usually obtained from a limited number of species, including especially cultivars of the wild cherry, Prunus avium....

      . Axillary buds single. Flowers in early spring in corymbs, long-stalked, not on leafed shoots. Fruit not grooved; stone smooth. Type species Prunus cerasus (Sour cherry).
    • Subgenus Lithocerasus. Axillary buds in threes. Flowers in early spring in corymbs, long-stalked, not on leafed shoots. Fruit not grooved; stone smooth. Type species Prunus pumila (sand cherry).
    • Subgenus Padus: bird cherries. Axillary buds single. Flowers in late spring in racemes on leafy shoots, short-stalked. Fruit not grooved; stone smooth. Type species Prunus padus (European bird cherry).
    • Subgenus Laurocerasus: cherry-laurels. Axillary buds single. Flowers in early spring in racemes, not on leafed shoots, short-stalked. Fruit not grooved; stone smooth. Mostly evergreen
      Evergreen
      In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

       (all the other subgenera are deciduous
      Deciduous
      Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

      ). Type species Prunus laurocerasus (European cherry-laurel).


Another recent DNA study found that Amygdaloideae can be divided into two clade
Clade
A clade is a group consisting of a species and all its descendants. In the terms of biological systematics, a clade is a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The idea that such a "natural group" of organisms should be grouped together and given a taxonomic name is central to biological...

s: Prunus-Maddenia, with Maddenia basal within Prunus, and Exochorda
Exochorda
Exochorda is a small genus of flowering plants in the family Rosaceae, native to China and central Asia . They are used as ornamental plants with the common name pearl bush...

-Oemleria-Prinsepia
Prinsepia
Prinsepia is a genus of trees in the Rosaceae. It bears fruit which looks like a cherry. The plant grows largely in India, China, Bangladesh, and Taiwan, yet P...

, but further refinement shows that Exochorda-Oemleria-Prinsepia is somewhat separate from Prunus-Maddenia-Pygeum, and that, like subfamily Maloideae
Maloideae
The Maloideae C.Weber are the apple subfamily, a grouping used by some taxonomists within the rose family, Rosaceae. Recent molecular phylogenetic evidence has shown that the traditional Spiraeoideae and Amygdaloideae form part of the same clade as the traditional Maloideae, and the correct name...

, all of these genera appear to be best considered within subfamily Spiraeoideae
Spiraeoideae
The subfamily Spiraeoideae was traditionally a subfamily of flowering plants within family Rosaceae. The taxonomy of this subfamily has changed several times in the last century as more detailed studies have been carried out...

. Prunus can be divided into two clades: Amygdalus-Prunus and Cerasus-Laurocerasus-Padus. Yet another study adds Emplectocladus as a subgenus to the former.

Uses


The genus Prunus includes the almond
Almond
The almond , is a species of tree native to the Middle East and South Asia. Almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree...

, apricot
Apricot
The apricot, Prunus armeniaca, is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation.- Description :...

, cherry
Cherry
The cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy stone fruit. The cherry fruits of commerce are usually obtained from a limited number of species, including especially cultivars of the wild cherry, Prunus avium....

, peach
Peach
The peach tree is a deciduous tree growing to tall and 6 in. in diameter, belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae. It bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach...

 and plum
Plum
A plum or gage is a stone fruit tree in the genus Prunus, subgenus Prunus. The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera in the shoots having a terminal bud and solitary side buds , the flowers in groups of one to five together on short stems, and the fruit having a groove running down one...

, all of which have cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

s developed for commercial fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 and nut production. The edible part of the almond is the seed; the almond fruit is a drupe
Drupe
In botany, a drupe is a fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a shell of hardened endocarp with a seed inside. These fruits develop from a single carpel, and mostly from flowers with superior ovaries...

, not a true nut
Nut (fruit)
A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts in English, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts...

. Many other species are occasionally cultivated or used for their seed and fruit.

There are also a number of species, hybrids, and cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

s grown as ornamental plant
Ornamental plant
Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects, as house plants, for cut flowers and specimen display...

s, usually for their profusion of flowers, sometimes for ornamental foliage and shape, occasionally for their bark. These ornamentals include the group that may be collectively called flowering cherries (including sakura, the Japanese flowering cherries).

Other species such as blackthorn
Blackthorn
Prunus spinosa is a species of Prunus native to Europe, western Asia, and locally in northwest Africa. It is also locally naturalised in New Zealand and eastern North America....

 are grown for hedging, game cover, and other utilitarian purposes.

The wood of some species is a minor and specialised timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

 (cherry wood), usually from larger tree species such as the wild cherry.

Many species produce an aromatic resin
Resin
Resin in the most specific use of the term is a hydrocarbon secretion of many plants, particularly coniferous trees. Resins are valued for their chemical properties and associated uses, such as the production of varnishes, adhesives, and food glazing agents; as an important source of raw materials...

 from wounds in the trunk; this is sometimes used medicinally. There are other minor uses including dye production.

Pygeum is a herbal remedy containing extracts from the bark of Prunus africana
Prunus africana
Prunus africana, or Red Stinkwood , is an evergreen tree native to the montane regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Islands of Madagascar, Sao Tome, Fernando Po and Grande Comore at about 900–3400 m. of altitude. The mature tree is 10–25 m. high, open-branched and often pendulous in forest,...

. It is used as to alleviate some of the discomfort caused by inflammation in patients suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia
Benign prostatic hyperplasia
Benign prostatic hyperplasia also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy , benign enlargement of the prostate , and adenofibromyomatous hyperplasia, refers to the increase in size of the prostate....

.

Because of their considerable value as both food and ornamental plants, many Prunus species have been introduced
Introduced species
An introduced species — or neozoon, alien, exotic, non-indigenous, or non-native species, or simply an introduction, is a species living outside its indigenous or native distributional range, and has arrived in an ecosystem or plant community by human activity, either deliberate or accidental...

 to parts of the world to which they are not native, some becoming naturalised.

Prunus species are food plants for the larva
Larva
A larva is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle...

e of a large number of Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera is a large order of insects that includes moths and butterflies . It is one of the most widespread and widely recognizable insect orders in the world, encompassing moths and the three superfamilies of butterflies, skipper butterflies, and moth-butterflies...

 species (butterflies and moth
Moth
A moth is an insect closely related to the butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. Moths form the majority of this order; there are thought to be 150,000 to 250,000 different species of moth , with thousands of species yet to be described...

s); see
List of Lepidoptera which feed on Prunus.

Toxicity


Many species are cyanogenic; that is, they contain compounds called cyanogenic glucoside
Glucoside
A glucoside is a glycoside that is derived from glucose. Glucosides are common in plants, but rare in animals. Glucose is produced when a glucoside is hydrolysed by purely chemical means, or decomposed by fermentation or enzymes....

s, notably amygdalin
Amygdalin
Amygdalin , C20H27NO11, is a glycoside initially isolated from the seeds of the tree Prunus dulcis, also known as bitter almonds, by Pierre-Jean Robiquet...

, which, on hydrolysis
Hydrolysis
Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction during which molecules of water are split into hydrogen cations and hydroxide anions in the process of a chemical mechanism. It is the type of reaction that is used to break down certain polymers, especially those made by condensation polymerization...

, yield hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Although the fruits of some may be edible by humans and livestock (in addition to the ubiquitous fructivory of birds), seeds, leaves and other parts may be toxic, some highly. The plants contain no more than trace amounts of HCN but on decomposition after crushing and exposure to air or on digestion poisonous amounts may be generated. The trace amounts may give a characteristic taste ("bitter almond") with increasing bitterness in larger quantities, less tolerable to people than to birds, which habitually feed on specific fruits.

Host for pests


Various Prunus species are winter hosts of the Damson-hop aphid, Phorodon humuli, which is destructive to hops Humulus lupulus
Humulus lupulus
Humulus lupulus is a species of Humulus in the Cannabaceae family.Common hop is a dioecious, perennial herbaceous climbing plant which sends up new shoots in early spring and dies back to the cold-hardy rhizome in autumn...

 just at the time of their maturity, so it is recommended that plum trees not be grown in the vicinity of hop fields.

Eastern Hemisphere



  • Prunus africana
    Prunus africana
    Prunus africana, or Red Stinkwood , is an evergreen tree native to the montane regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Islands of Madagascar, Sao Tome, Fernando Po and Grande Comore at about 900–3400 m. of altitude. The mature tree is 10–25 m. high, open-branched and often pendulous in forest,...

  • Prunus apetala
  • Prunus armeniaca
  • Prunus avium
    Prunus avium
    Prunus avium, commonly called wild cherry, sweet cherry, bird cherry, or gean, is a species of cherry, native to Europe, west Turkey, northwest Africa, and western Asia, from the British Isles south to Morocco and Tunisia, north to the Trondheimsfjord region in Norway and east to the Caucasus, and...

  • Prunus bifrons
    Prunus bifrons
    Prunus bifrons is a species of Prunus native to temperate and tropical Asia.- References and external links :* * * Sitzungsber. Kaiserl. Akad. Wiss., Wien, Math.-Naturwiss. Cl., Abt. 1, 101:637. 1892...

  • Prunus buergeriana
  • Prunus campanulata
    Prunus campanulata
    Prunus campanulata is a species of cherry native to Taiwan, widely grown as an ornamental tree, and a symbol of Nago, Okinawa in the Ryukyus. It is variously known in English as the Taiwan cherry or Formosan cherry; in ; . It was described in 1883 by Carl Johann Maximowicz.-Invasive species:The...

  • Prunus canescens
  • Prunus cerasifera
  • Prunus cerasoides
    Prunus cerasoides
    Prunus cerasoides is a deciduous cherry tree found in East Asia. It is of the family Rosaceae and the genus Prunus. Its range extends in the Himalayas from Himachal Pradesh in India to southwest China and Burma. It grows in the forests from 1200 to 2400 metres above sea level.-Description:P...

  • Prunus cerasus
  • Prunus ceylanica
    Prunus ceylanica
    Prunus ceylanica is a species of plant in the Rosaceae family. It is endemic to Sri Lanka and Is in danger of extinction by habitat loss .-Synonyms:*Pygeum Ceylanica Polydontia Wight*Pygeum acuminatum Colebr.*Pygeum cochinchinense J.E.Vidal...

  • Prunus cocomilia
    Prunus cocomilia
    Prunus cocomilia is a species of plum commonly called Italian plum. It is endemic to Turkey, and well known in Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia, where it is called Dzenerika or Dzanja.-References:...

  • Prunus cornuta
  • Prunus crassifolia
  • Prunus davidiana
  • Prunus domestica
    Prunus domestica
    Prunus domestica is a Prunus species with many varieties. These are often called "plums" in common English, though not all plums belong to this species. Its hybrid parentage is believed to be Prunus spinosa and Prunus cerasifera var. divaricata...

  • Prunus dulcis

  • Prunus fruticosa
    Prunus fruticosa
    Prunus fruticosa, the European dwarf cherry, or Dwarf cherry, Mongolian cherry or Steppe cherry is a deciduous, xerophytic, winter-hardy, cherry-bearing shrub...

  • Prunus geniculata
    Prunus geniculata
    Prunus geniculata is a rare species of plum known by the common name scrub plum. It is endemic to Florida in the United States, where it occurs on the Lake Wales Ridge in the central ridges of the peninsula...

  • Prunus glandulosa
  • Prunus gracilis
  • Prunus grayana
    Prunus grayana
    Prunus grayana is a species of cherry native to Japan and China, occurring at medium altitudes of 1,000–3,800 m in the temperate zone...

  • Prunus incana
  • Prunus incisa
  • Prunus insititia

  • Prunus jacquemontii
  • Prunus japonica
  • Prunus korshinskyi
    Prunus korshinskyi
    Prunus korshinskyi is a species of Prunus in the family Rosaceae. It was first discovered in Syria, and is also locally native in Turkey and southeastern Europe. It is threatened by habitat loss...

  • Prunus kotschyi
  • Prunus laurocerasus
  • Prunus laxinervis
    Prunus laxinervis
    Prunus laxinervis is a species of plant in the Rosaceae family. It is found in Indonesia and Malaysia.-Source:* Kalkman, C. 1998. . Downloaded on 23 August 2007....

  • Prunus lusitanica
    Prunus lusitanica
    Prunus lusitanica, with common name Portugal laurel, is a species of cherry, native to southwestern France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and Macaronesia .-Distribution:...

  • Prunus maackii
    Prunus maackii
    Prunus maackii, commonly called the Manchurian cherry or Amur chokecherry, is a species of cherry native to Korea and both banks of the Amur River, in Manchuria in northeastern China, and Amur Oblast and Primorye in southeastern Russia....

  • Prunus mahaleb
    Prunus mahaleb
    Prunus mahaleb is a species of cherry native to central and southern Europe, western and central Asia, and northwest Africa, from Morocco north to France, southern Belgium, and Germany, and east to northern Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan.It is a deciduous tree or large...


  • Prunus mandshurica
  • Prunus maximowiczii
    Prunus maximowiczii
    Prunus maximowiczii, known as the Miyama cherry or Korean cherry , is a small , fruiting cherry tree that can be found growing wild in northeastern Asia and Eurasia.- Taxonomy :The species was first described in 1857 by Franz Josef Ruprecht...

  • Prunus minutiflora
  • Prunus mume
  • Prunus murrayana
  • Prunus myrtifolia
  • Prunus nipponica
  • Prunus occidentalis
  • Prunus padus
  • Prunus persica
  • Prunus pleuradenia
  • Prunus pseudocerasus
  • Prunus prostrata
    Prunus prostrata
    Prunus prostrata is a hardy alpine shrub found naturally above about 2000 m. up to as high as 4000 m...

  • Prunus rivularis
  • Prunus salicina
    Prunus salicina
    Prunus salicina , commonly called the Chinese plum or Japanese plum, is a small deciduous tree native to China...

  • Prunus sargentii
    Prunus sargentii
    Prunus sargentii, commonly known as Sargent's cherry, North Japanese hill cherry, or in Japan, is a species of cherry native to Japan, Korea, and Sakhalin .The tree was named for Charles Sprague Sargent.-Description:...

  • Prunus serrula

  • Prunus serrulata
    Prunus serrulata
    Prunus serrulata or Japanese Cherry; also called Hill Cherry, Oriental Cherry or East Asian Cherry, is a species of cherry native to Japan, Korea and China. It is known for its spring cherry blossom displays and festivals....

  • Prunus sibirica
  • Prunus simonii
  • Prunus sogdiana
  • Prunus speciosa
    Prunus speciosa
    Prunus speciosa, the Oshima Cherry, Japanese オオシマザクラ , is native to Izu Ōshima island and the Izu Peninsula on Honshū near Tokyo, Japan.-Description:Prunus speciosa is a deciduous tree typically high...

  • Prunus spinosa
    Prunus spinosa
    Prunus spinosa is a species of Prunus native to Europe, western Asia, and locally in northwest Africa. It is also locally naturalised in New Zealand and eastern North America....

  • Prunus spinulosa
  • Prunus ssiori
  • Prunus subhirtella
    Prunus subhirtella
    Prunus subhirtella, sometimes also called Spring Cherry, Higan cherry, or Rosebud cherry is a small tree originating in Japan, but unknown in the wild. It is probably of hybrid origin between Prunus incisa and Prunus spachiana....

  • Prunus tenella
    Prunus tenella
    Prunus tenella Batsch, Dwarf Russian Almond, is a species of deciduous shrubs in the genus Prunus, native to steppes of Eastern Europe and Western Siberia, as well as dry open sites of Caucasus, Western and Central Asia. In the wild, it tends to grow in clusters of one to three. P. tenella yields...

  • Prunus tomentosa
    Prunus tomentosa
    Nanking Cherry is a species of Prunus native to northern and western China , Korea, Mongolia, and possibly northern India...

  • Prunus triloba
    Prunus triloba
    Prunus triloba sometimes called "flowering almond" is a shrubby cherry, sometimes becoming a small tree. The flowers are pale pink or white, and the fruit are red and "pubescent", i.e. with soft hair. It originates from China....

  • Prunus ursina
  • Prunus vachuschtii
  • Prunus verecunda
    Prunus verecunda
    Prunus verecunda, commonly called Korean Hill/Mountain Cherry, is a native of Japan. It generally has autumnal leaves of reddish-brown or crimson red colour. It has flowers of bright yellow-white colours.-Biochemistry:...

  • Prunus × yedoensis
    Prunus × yedoensis
    Prunus × yedoensis is a hybrid cherry of unknown origin, probably between Prunus speciosa as father plant and Prunus pendula f. ascendens as mother...

  • Prunus zippeliana


Western Hemisphere



  • Prunus alabamensis
  • Prunus alleghaniensis
    Prunus alleghaniensis
    The Allegheny Plum is a species of New World plum, native to North America.-Identification:The leaves are two to three and a half inches long, the tip is usually long and pointed. The leaf margins are finely toothed. The twigs sometimes have thorns. The bark is fissured in older specimens.The...

  • Prunus americana
    Prunus americana
    Prunus americana, commonly called the American Plum, Wild Plum, or Marshall's Large Yellow Sweet Plum, is a species of Prunus native to North America from Saskatchewan to New Mexico east to New Hampshire and Florida. It has often been planted outside its core range and sometimes escapes cultivation...

  • Prunus andersonii
    Prunus andersonii
    Prunus andersonii is a species of shrub in the rose family, part of the same genus as the peach, cherry, and almond. Its common names include desert peach and desert almond. It is native to eastern California and western Nevada, where it grows in forests and scrub in desert and mountains...

  • Prunus angustifolia
    Prunus angustifolia
    Prunus angustifolia pronounced , known commonly as Chickasaw Plum, Cherokee plum, Florida sand plum, sandhill plum, or sand plum, is a plum bearing tree native to North America. It was originally cultivated by Native Americans before the arrival of Europeans...

  • Prunus buxifolia
  • Prunus caroliniana
    Prunus caroliniana
    Prunus caroliniana, known as the Carolina Cherry Laurel, with syns. Cherry Laurel, Carolina Cherry, Laurelcherry or Wild Mock Orange, is a flowering tree native to the Southeastern United States, from North Carolina south to Florida and westward to eastern Texas. It was once classified as...


  • Prunus emarginata
  • Prunus eremophila
    Prunus eremophila
    Prunus eremophila is a rare species of plum known by the common name Mojave desert plum. It is endemic to San Bernardino County, California, where it is known only from the eastern Mojave National Preserve, including Lanfair Valley. It occurs in Mojave Desert scrub habitat...

  • Prunus fasciculata
    Prunus fasciculata
    Prunus fasciculata, also known as wild almond, desert almond, or desert peach is a spiny and woody shrub producing wild almonds, native to the deserts of Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah....

  • Prunus fremontii
    Prunus fremontii
    Prunus fremontii is a shrub or small tree reaching up to five meters in height, known by the common name desert apricot. It takes its scientific name from John C. Frémont. It is found in southwestern North America in north and western Baja California especially, mostly Pacific and western, and the...

  • Prunus geniculata
    Prunus geniculata
    Prunus geniculata is a rare species of plum known by the common name scrub plum. It is endemic to Florida in the United States, where it occurs on the Lake Wales Ridge in the central ridges of the peninsula...

  • Prunus havardii
  • Prunus hortulana
  • Prunus huantensis

  • Prunus ilicifolia
    Prunus ilicifolia
    Prunus ilicifolia is an evergreen shrub to tree, producing edible cherries, with shiny and spiny toothed leaves similar in appearance to holly...

  • Prunus integrifolia
  • Prunus maritima
  • Prunus mexicana
    Prunus mexicana
    Prunus mexicana, commonly known as the Mexican Plum, is a species of plum tree that is found in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States as well as Northern Mexico. Its native range stretches from South Dakota and Ohio in the north to as far south as Alabama and Coahuila. Mexican Plum is...

  • Prunus munsoniana
  • Prunus nigra
    Prunus nigra
    Prunus nigra is a species of Prunus, native to eastern North America from New Brunswick west to southeastern Manitoba, and south to Connecticut across to Iowa...

  • Prunus pensylvanica
  • Prunus pumila
    Prunus pumila
    Prunus pumila, commonly called sand cherry, Bessey cherry, dwarf cherry, eastern sand cherry, Great Lakes sand cherry, prostrate dwarf cherry, Rocky Mountain cherry, or western sand cherry, is a species of Prunus native to eastern and central North America, from New Brunswick west to Ontario and...


  • Prunus rigida
  • Prunus serotina
  • Prunus sphaerocarpa
  • Prunus subcordata
    Prunus subcordata
    Prunus subcordata, known by the common names Klamath plum, Oregon plum, and Sierra plum, is a member of the genus Prunus , native to the west coast of the Western United States in California and western and southern Oregon...

  • Prunus texana
  • Prunus umbellata
  • Prunus virginiana


Palaeobotanical models



The earliest known fossil Prunus are wood, drupe and seed and a leaf from the middle Eocene
Eocene
The Eocene Epoch, lasting from about 56 to 34 million years ago , is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Palaeocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the...

 of the Princeton Chert of British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

. Using the known age as calibration data, recent research by Oh and Potter reconstructs a partial phylogeny of some Rosaceae from a number of nucleotide sequences. According to this study Prunus and its "sister clade" Maloideae
Maloideae
The Maloideae C.Weber are the apple subfamily, a grouping used by some taxonomists within the rose family, Rosaceae. Recent molecular phylogenetic evidence has shown that the traditional Spiraeoideae and Amygdaloideae form part of the same clade as the traditional Maloideae, and the correct name...

 (apple subfamily) diverged at 44.3 mya (or 43 million years ago, well before most of the Primate
Primate
A primate is a mammal of the order Primates , which contains prosimians and simians. Primates arose from ancestors that lived in the trees of tropical forests; many primate characteristics represent adaptations to life in this challenging three-dimensional environment...

s existed). This date is within the Lutetian
Lutetian
The Lutetian is, in the geologic timescale, a stage or age in the Eocene. It spans the time between and . The Lutetian is preceded by the Ypresian and is followed by the Bartonian. Together with the Bartonian it is sometimes referred to as the Middle Eocene subepoch...

, or older middle Eocene
Eocene
The Eocene Epoch, lasting from about 56 to 34 million years ago , is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Palaeocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the...

. Stokey and Wehr report: "The Eocene was a time of rapid evolution and diversification in Angiosperm families such as the Rosaceae
Rosaceae
Rosaceae are a medium-sized family of flowering plants, including about 2830 species in 95 genera. The name is derived from the type genus Rosa. Among the largest genera are Alchemilla , Sorbus , Crataegus , Cotoneaster , and Rubus...

 ...."

The Princeton finds are among a large number of Angiosperm fossils from the Okanagan Highlands dating to the late early and middle Eocene. Crataegus
Crataegus
Crataegus , commonly called hawthorn or thornapple, is a large genus of shrubs and trees in the rose family, Rosaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia and North America. The name hawthorn was originally applied to the species native to northern Europe,...

 is found at three locations: Mcabee, Republic
Republic, Washington
Republic is a city in Ferry County, Washington, United States. The population was 1,073 at the 2010 census, a 12.5% increase over the 2000 Census. It is the county seat of Ferry County.-History:...

 and Princeton
Princeton, British Columbia
Princeton is a small town in the Similkameen region of southern British Columbia, Canada. It lies just east of the Cascade Mountains, which continue south into Washington, Oregon and California. The Tulameen and Similkameen Rivers converge here...

, while Prunus is found at those locations and Quilchena and Chuchua. A recent recapitulation of research on the topic reports that the Rosaceae were more diverse at higher altitudes. The Okanagan formations date to as early as 52 mya, but the 44.3 mya data, which is approximate, depending on assumptions, might still apply. The authors state: "... the McAbee flora records a diverse early middle Eocene angiosperm-dominated forest."

Etymology


The Online Etymology Dictionary
Online Etymology Dictionary
The Online Etymology Dictionary is an online dictionary that describes the origins of English-language words. The abbreviation, OED, coincides with the frequently used acronym for the Oxford English Dictionary.-Description:...

 presents the customary derivations of plum and prune from Latin prūnum, the plum fruit. The tree is prūnus; however, Pliny also uses prūnus silvestris to mean the blackthorn
Blackthorn
Prunus spinosa is a species of Prunus native to Europe, western Asia, and locally in northwest Africa. It is also locally naturalised in New Zealand and eastern North America....

. The word is not native Latin, but is a loan from Greek προῦνον (prounon) which is a variant of προῦμνον (proumnon), origin unknown. The tree is προύμνη (proumnē). Most dictionaries follow Hoffman, Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Griechischen, in making some form of the word a loan from a pre-Greek language of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, related to Phrygian
Phrygian language
The Phrygian language was the Indo-European language of the Phrygians, spoken in Asia Minor during Classical Antiquity .Phrygian is considered to have been closely related to Greek....

.

The first use of Prunus as a genus name was by Linnaeus in Hortus Cliffortianus of 1737, which went on to become Species Plantarum
Species Plantarum
Species Plantarum was first published in 1753, as a two-volume work by Carl Linnaeus. Its prime importance is perhaps that it is the primary starting point of plant nomenclature as it exists today. This means that the first names to be considered validly published in botany are those that appear...

. In that work Linnaeus attributes the word to "Varr.", who it is assumed must be Marcus Terentius Varro
Marcus Terentius Varro
Marcus Terentius Varro was an ancient Roman scholar and writer. He is sometimes called Varro Reatinus to distinguish him from his younger contemporary Varro Atacinus.-Biography:...

.