Prunus cerasifera

Accession Count: 4
Common Name: Japanese purple plum, myrobala plum
Family Name: Rosaceae
Botanical Name: Prunus cerasifera
Sub Species:
Cultivar: 'Atropurpurea'
Characteristics: These beautiful trees have showy summer foliage. The Prunus cerasifera have deep red, serrated, obovate, pointed tip, alternate leaves (1). The trunk and branches are a smooth, silver-brown, but during winter the twig turns brown or red (3). The tree can grow to 25 feet tall and have a spread of 20 feet (2). In spring the cherry plum produces showy fragrant flowers that are light pink with five petals. These pretty flowers develop before the leaves (4). Then the flowers produces to small, round fruits.
Compound: Pru cer Atr
Geographic Origin: East Asia
Ecozone Origin: Palearctic
Biome Origin:
Natural History: The Myrobala plum is native to East and western Asia and the Caucasus. This plant no longer exists in the wild but in cultivation. However, it  can escape gardens and naturalize elsewhere (2). This plant has been reported to be introduced to 17 different states in the U.S.A and Britain (5). 
Cultivation Notes:

The cherry plum prefers full sun for fruiting but can handle
a little bit of shade.This tree is drought tolerant and needs well-drained but
moist, acidic soils (1). Loamy soils with limestone are ideal conditions to
plant in (6). If you are going to transplant this tree do it in the spring. The
time to prune is after flowering (1).


This plant can be used for a variety of things. Though the
entire plant is poisonous it is in low enough quantities to prove no harm
(6).  However, if the seeds are too bitter avoid them. The fruit can be
eaten raw or cooked to make pies, tarts and jams.
Another practical use for this plant  is medicine. The flowers are used in Bach flower remedies are used to help regain control over ones thoughts and actions. Their flowers are also used in making a 'Rescue remedy'. The flowers can be broken down to hydrocyanic acid which used in small doses can improve respiration, digestion and give a sense of well-being (6). For crafting the leaves and fruits can be used for dying. In landscaping this tree is used as an ornamental, shade, windbreak and root stock for cultivating plums (6).

Height: 20 - 50 feet
Width: 16 - 20 feet
Growth Rate:
Grow Season:
Flower Season: Spring
Color: Pink
Function: Shade
Spread: Spreading
Allergen: Non-allergenic
Invasive: Benign
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Hardy
Water Use: Moderate Water Use

  1. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  2. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  3. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  4. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  5. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  6. Retrieved March 19, 2019.

Prunus cerasifera