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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 474. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/22/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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6. Prunus mahaleb L. (perfumed cherry)

Pl. 537 i, j; Map 2476

Plants shrubs or trees to 15 m tall, not suckering. Branches unarmed. Twigs densely pubescent with short hairs (at least some of these glandular) when young, becoming glabrous and glaucous with age, producing a terminal winter bud. Petioles 4–20 mm, glabrous or less commonly short-hairy on the upper side, glandless or with 1 or 2 large discoid glands at or near the tip. Leaf blades 1.5–4.5 cm long, 1.2–3.4 cm wide, less than 2 times as long as wide, oblong-ovate to more commonly broadly ovate or nearly circular, rounded to truncate or occasionally shallowly cordate at the base, abruptly short-tapered to a bluntly pointed tip, the margins finely and simply toothed to more or less scalloped, the blunt to rounded teeth with lateral glands (appearing positioned more or less in the sinus between adjacent teeth), the upper surfaces glabrous, the undersurface glabrous or finely hairy along the main veins. Inflorescences produced when the leaves are half- or more grown, short, dome-shaped racemes (the axis shorter than the flower stalks) of 4–12 flowers, the flower stalks 6–18 mm, glabrous. Flowers with the hypanthium 2–3 mm long, conic to somewhat bell-shaped, glabrous. Sepals 1.3–2.0 mm long, reflexed at flowering, oblong, the margins entire, nonglandular, the inner surface glabrous. Petals 6–7 mm long, elliptic to obovate, white. Fruits 6–10 mm long, ovoid, not grooved, the surface dark red to black, glabrous, not glaucous, the fleshy layer poorly developed, thin and dry, the stone ellipsoid to subglobose, somewhat flattened, the surface smooth. 2n=16. April–May.

Introduced, scattered in the southern half of the Ozark Division, uncommon and sporadic elsewhere in the state (native of Europe, Asia; introduced widely in the eastern and western U.S.; Canada). Glades, mesic to dry upland forests, banks of streams and rivers, ledges of bluffs; also pastures, old fields, fencerows, cemeteries, roadsides and open, disturbed areas.

Prunus mahaleb is cultivated as an ornamental and has also been used as grafting stock for other cherries. In the past, its wood also was used in the manufacture of cherrywood pipestems. Steyermark (1963) noted that the taxon is often encountered without flowers or fruits in Missouri and is then sometimes confused for Pyrus communis (pear). In such cases, the presence of small glands apparently between the teeth serve to distinguish P. mahaleb from P. communis.



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