Cherry Plum
The Cherry Plum, Prunus cerasifera, also known as the Myrobalan Plum  is native to a region from the Balkans to central Asia and has been cultivated in Britain from the 16th century. The word ‘Myrobalan’ was originally used for the sharp-tasting fruit of an Asian tree before it was applied to this plum. It is a thorny shrub or small tree and is frequently planted in urban areas because it is one of the first trees to come into flower in the spring. Its white flowers come out before the leaves in early March. It is often confused with the Blackthorn which has almost identical flowers but flowers 4 weeks later, generally in early April. The plum is yellow or red and can be eaten raw or used in cooking.

Cherry Plum identification – twelve photos illustrate the key features


Tree in blossom in March before the leaves are out.

The leaf has fine teeth. The curved veins are sunk into the surface.

The curved veins are easy to see on the underside of the leaf which has hairs near the veins.

Young tree has bark which is similar to a Blackthorn.

The flower of the Cherry Plum is bigger than that of the Blackthorn but apart from that they are very similar. However, the Plum is the earliest to flower (usually in March) and the blackthorn flowers 4 weeks later in April.

The sepals of the Cherry Plum are ‘reflexed’ i.e. bent backwards. Those of the Blackthorn are not ‘reflexed’. Click HERE for more photos on this difference.

Fruit in July.

Fruit in August.

There is a cultivar of the Cherry Plum called Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’ which looks similar and flowers at the same time but has  pink flowers and purple leaves.

Tree in January

The buds are pointed

Buds are single or in small clusters, unlike Blackthorn which has very clustered buds.