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
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.