Cherry Plum with images and text taken from the book Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Europe published by Reed New Holland in 2017, author Alan Birkett and ISBN 9781921517839. The Cherry Plum is also known as the Myrobalan Plum. It 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. 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 four weeks later in April.
Tree in August
The fruit in July. The plum is yellow or red and can be eaten raw or used in cooking.
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.