Cherry plum - Prunus cerasifera

The Cherry plum tree (species name: Prunus cerasifera) is a small tree in the plum family native to Europe and Asia.  It is also planted outside of its native range as an ornamental tree that is prized for its brightly colored blossoms in spring and its purple-reddish leaves.  The fruit is a 2-3cm drupe that it edible.

The size and color of the "cherry plums" makes them easily confusable with cherries (thus the name).  The dark leaf color is a very good clue however to indicate that it is not a cherry tree.  A close examination of the drupe will also set it apart from the shape of a cherry.

The Cherry plum is one of those trees that is highly ornamental in both its spring flowering period and its spring to fall period.

I happened across one of these in bloom recently and observed several Monk parakeets feasting on the flower bulbs. (Image below)

The leaves of the Cherry plum are alternate on the branch.  They have a simple ovate shape and a crenate margin (rounded teeth).  One of the distinctive´s of this tree species is the color of its leaves that range from a dark purple-green to a purple-red color.

The image below shows the bark on both young (lower) and mature (upper) trees.


  1. i think these are invasive where i live, but they are beautiful trees!

  2. I have always love these trees for the color my husband got me one when it was a young tree and I didn't remember the name of it. years later we look at the tree admiring how much it grown and now it has cherries! I thought it was decorative not an actual cherry tree. I ate one and it was wonderful, and juicy and a deep maroon color all the way through. I came across this post every thing looks like my tree but the fruit. The fruit I looked just like a cherry. I was worried because I read a little about Kanzan cherry trees and those have poisonous flowers does that mean the fruit is too? So I don't know if I ate a poisonous fruit (I just ate one) or a cherry from a cherry plum tree? I would love to send a picture if you can help???

  3. The 2nd picture of the fruit is wrong, this appears to be youing apple fruit, definately not cherry plum - description says easily confused with cherry, by the looks of it apple as well :-)

  4. how big anyone? can you prune them to desired look?

  5. Correction: the second image in this post appears to be a Malux x purpurea (a member of the Apple tree family)

  6. Have just picked some cherry plums from trees in our local park. Delicious but the skins are a bit tart. Fruits are hard to spot against the foliage too. Fruit image above definitely not plum. More like crab apple var.