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Prunus microcarpa C. A. Mey.

Modern name

Prunus microcarpa C.A.Mey.


Cerasus microcarpa (C. A. Mey.) Boiss.

A deciduous bush 3 or 4 ft high, of sturdy habit, with stiff, short-jointed branches and downy branchlets. Leaves broadly ovate, with a rounded base and acute apex, 12 to 1 in. long, nearly as much wide, coarsely and sharply toothed, with a few scattered hairs when young beneath; stalk 16 to 14 in. long. Flowers produced in spring in clusters of two or three, from buds and spurs of older branches, each on a downy stalk 13 in. long; the petals are rosy pink, the calyx cylindrical and glabrous. Fruits ovoid, nearly 12 in. long, red or yellow. Bot. Mag., t. 8360.

P. microcarpa (in the wide sense) has a wide range from S. and E. Anatolia eastward to N.W. Afghanistan, north to E. Transcaucasia and Transcaspia. It is an exceedingly variable species in habit, leaf-shape, colour and shape of fruit, and also in the amount of down on the leaves and twigs. The most downy forms can be distinguished as var. pubescens (Bornm.) Meikle. The plant described above was introduced to Kew in 1890, apparently from Asia Minor. The shape of leaf shown by this plant is usually correlated with downiness, though the leaves are in fact fairly glabrous.

Coming from a dry region with hot summers, P. microcarpa needs the sunniest position available. It is hardly worth garden room, except perhaps in the driest parts of the country.

The variations of this species are discussed by the Polish botanist K. Browicz in Rocz. Arb. Kornickie, No. 13 (1968), pp. 5-23 (in English).



Other species in the genus