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Prunus conradinae Koehne

Modern name

Prunus conradinae Koehne

A deciduous tree of graceful habit up to 35 ft high; young shoots glabrous. Leaves oval to oval-lanceolate, or inclined to obovate; slender-pointed, mostly rounded at the base, toothed, often doubly so, 2 to 412 in. long, 1 to 214 in. wide, glabrous or with sprinkled hairs above, more or less hairy on the veins beneath; stalk 12 in. long. Flowers produced on the leafless shoots during early spring in very shortly stalked clusters of two to five, each on a glabrous stalk 14 to 58 in. long; white or pale pink, 1 in. wide. Calyx quite glabrous, the tube bell-shaped, the lobes triangular. Fruits red, ovoid, 25 in. long.

Native of W. Hupeh, China; introduced in 1907 by means of seeds sent to Kew from the Arnold Arboretum, Mass., which had been collected that season by Wilson, who first discovered the species. It is the best of the early-flowering wild cherries and is usually in bloom during normal seasons in February or early March. In the warmest counties it will flower in January. The petals are always notched at the end, occasionally lobed in addition, and the flowers frequently show a tendency to ‘double’. Collingwood Ingram of Benenden, Kent, found in his collection a tree with this doubleness unusually developed. This is named ‘Semi-plena’ (Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 551). It lasts longer in bloom than the single type. The flowers are pleasantly fragrant. If possible, it should be planted where it has an evergreen background to the north and east; this will give shelter to the early blossoms and bring out their beauty more definitely.

P. conradinae is allied to P. hirtipes Hemsl., described in 1887 from a specimen collected by Maries in Kiangsi, and is included in it by C. Jeffrey (Bot. Mag., loc. cit.). The view taken here is that P. conradinae is sufficiently distinct to justify retaining it as a separate species until more wild material is available for study.



Other species in the genus