Three closely related trees have white flowers in spring – Cherry Plum, Blackthorn and Wild Cherry. They are all members of the Prunus genus in the Rose Family and have very similar flowers. The Prunus genus of over 400 species of trees and shrubs includes Wild Cherry, Flowering Cherries, Plum, Apricot, Peach, Almond,  Blackthorn  and Bird Cherry. These three species have flowering periods that may overlap and they can easily be confused. Each flower has 5 green sepals, 5 white petals, many yellow anthers and 1 green style. The sepals lie under the petals and have evolved to protect the bud before flowering. Their shape after flowering is the key to correct identification. One other difference is that Cherry Plum and Blackthorn flowers are ‘solitary’ (one bud produces 1 flower) but Wild Cherry flowers are in the form of an ‘umbel’ where one bud produces a number of flowers.

Cherry Plum flowers

Cherry Plum flowers are produced from February to April. For more information click here 

Blackthorn flowers
Blackthorn flowers are produced from March to April. For more information click here.
Wild Cherry flowers

Wild Cherry flowers are produced from April to May. For more information click here.

Cherry Plum sepals

The sepals of the Cherry Plum are ‘reflexed’ i.e. bent backwards.

Blackthorn sepals

The sepals of the Blackthorn are not reflexed i.e. not bent backwards.

Wild Cherry sepals

The sepals of the Wild Cherry are ‘reflexed’ i.e. bent backwards like the Cherry Plum.