Key to cherries (Bob Press)

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This information is derived from the British Cherry tree survey. It is original work by Dr. J.R. Press of the NHM London, UK, who uploaded and licenced earlier versions of this document himself. The present version contains minor revisions by workers of the Offene Naturführer.

Key to Cherries

Key to Cherries
Von: J.R. Press
Geographischer Geltungsbereich: UK — Zusammenarbeit: offen
1
Flowers and fruits arranged in roughly cylinder-shaped spikes, 11 or more flowers per spike   ► 2
1
Flowers and fruits single, or in clusters of 10 or fewer flowers   ► 3
2
Leaves hairless or with whitish hairs on the underside along the midrib, sometimes only where the veins join; flowers 10-15 mm in diameter (Bird Cherry: P. padus; Virginia Bird Cherry: P. virginiana
  Bird Cherries
Prunus padus flowers. Photograph by Nova, CC-by-sa 3.0
2
Leaves with rusty or orange hairs on the underside along the midrib; flowers 8 mm across (P. serotina
  Rum Cherry
3
Flower and leaf stalks densely hairy; leaf margins with pointed teeth   ► 4
3
Flower and leaf stalks almost hairless; leaf margins with pointed teeth, often with thin bristle-like tips   ► 5
3
Flower and leaf stalks hairless; leaf margins with blunt or rounded teeth (though often tipped with a claw-like gland)   ► 6
4
Sepal lobes toothed; leaves hairless above, hairy on veins beneath (Spring Cherry: P. subhirtella (incl. Autumn Cherry); Yoshino Cherry: P. x yedoensi; Korean mountain cherry P. serrulata var. pubescens
  Spring Cherries
4
Sepal lobes not toothed; leaves hairy on both surfaces (P. incisa, Alpine Cherries) 
  Fuji Cherry
5
Bark of trunk and branches very glossy, purplish brown, peeling in thin, copper brown strips (P. serrula
  Tibetan Cherry
5
Bark mostly dull grey or brown, sometimes peeling to reveal shiny, red-brown on the trunk (Japanese Mountain Cherry: P. serrulata and Sato Zakura, Japanese Flowering Cherries, Sargents’s Cherry: P. sargentii; Oshima Cherry: P. speciosa
  Japanese Cherries
Cherry blossom trees in Japan, by Masahiro Nishiguchi, CC-by-sa 3.0
Cherry blossom trees in Japan, by Masahiro Nishiguchi, CC-by-sa 3.0
6
Flowers < 20 mm, flower stalks up to 15 mm long, not arising from a central point; fruit < 10 mm (St Lucie Cherry: P. mahaleb; Pin Cherry: P. pensylvanica
  St Lucie Cherries
6
Flowers > 20 mm, flower stalks > 15 mm long, arising from a central point; fruit > 10 mm   ► 7
7
Flowers cup-shaped; leaves dull above, sparsely hairy on the underside (P. avium; Cultivars also called Sweet Cherries) 
  Wild Cherry
7
Flowers saucer-shaped; leaves glossy above, hairless on the underside (P. cerasus x cultivars; also called Sour Cherry) 
  Morello Cherry
Flowers of Sour Cherry. Photograph by Bogdan Janus, CC-by-sa 3.0


Bird Cherries

Bird cherry (Prunus padus): Tree 10–20 m tall, the bark has an unpleasant, acrid scent. Flowers 15 mm across, ripe fruit 6–8 mm long and black.

Virginian bird cherry (Prunus virginiana): Tree up to 5 m tall and conical in shape, the bark has no unpleasant smell. Flowers 10 mm across, ripe fruit 10mm, red or black.

ID check

  1. Leaves are alternate in arrangement, not divided into leaflets and are deciduous.
  2. Leaves are toothed.
  3. Twigs are not thorny.
  4. Flowers and fruits are in an elongated spike.
  5. Flowers are less than 10 mm in diameter. The petals are broadly oval.
  6. Fruits are juicy and smooth at the apex.

Description

Tree: Small trees but capable of reaching 20 m tall.

Bark: Brown or grey and may be unpleasant-smelling.

Leaves: Slightly leathery. The edges have fine, slender teeth and the apex has a short, slender tip. They are hairless or have whitish hairs on the underside of the leaf either side of the central vein - sometimes only as tufts where veins join.

Flower spikes: They are 7–15 cm long, cylinder-shaped and with leaves at the base of the spike.

Flowers: White and fragrant.

Styles: There are 2 or more.

Ripe fruit: They are 6–10 mm across, red or black and very astringent. Sepals are usually present on the ripe fruit. There are 2 or more seeds.

Rum Cherry

(Prunus serotina)

ID check

  1. Flowers in spikes of 10 or more.
  2. Leaves with rusty- or orange-coloured hairs beneath.

Description

Tree: 15–20 m tall.

Bark: Dark grey to almost black, peeling in small strips and with a bitter, aromatic smell.

Leaves: Broadest above the middle, margins with fine, forward-pointing teeth and an apex with a short, tapering tip. On underside of the leaf there are rusty-coloured hairs on either side of the midrib.

Flower spikes: 10–15 cm long, cylindrical, with leaves at the base of the spike.

Flowers: White, 8mm, the petals minutely toothed.

Ripe fruit: 8mm, black, retaining triangular, sharp-pointed sepals at the tip.

Notes: The rum cherry is supposedly named because of its use to flavour rum and brandy. It is unusual among cherries in retaining the sepals on the ripe fruit.

In the UK, the rum cherry is mostly planted as an ornamental tree. In Europe it is sometimes planted for timber.

Japanese Cherries

Japanese Mountain Cherry (Prunus serrulata)

Sargent’s Cherry (Prunus sargentii)

Oshima Cherry (Prunus speciosa)

ID check

  1. Flowers on hairless stalks, in clusters of 2–6.
  2. Leaf margins with pointed teeth, often with bristle-like tips.
  3. Leaf stalk hairless.
  4. Bark mostly dull grey or brown, sometimes peeling to reveal shiny red-brown on the trunk.

Description

Tree: Up to 15 m tall but often shorter.

Leaves: Hairless or downy beneath (depending on the species and variety).

Flowers: White or pink, produced in great quantities. May be single, double or with numerous petals and range from 25–40 mm across.

Fruits: Roughly 10 mm long, ovoid, purplish-black when ripe but often not produced.

Notes: Japanese cherries have been cultivated in Japan for centuries, and this group is made up of both wild forms and complex ancient hybrids. These include trees collectively known as 'sato zakura' or ‘garden’ cherries, a group of cultivars containing many of the most popular flowering cherries.

Both the spreading and fastigiate (narrowly columnar) varieties are common in the UK.

Japanese cherries are often grafted onto a stock from another species, usually the wild cherry (an abrupt change in the thickness of the trunk marks the point where the graft and stock join).

Spring Cherries

Spring Cherry (and autumn cherry) (Prunus x subhirtella)

Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis)

Korean Mountain Cherry (Prunus serrulata var. pubescens)

ID check

  1. Flowers on hairy stalks, in clusters of 2–5.
  2. Sepal lobes toothed.
  3. Leaf margins with pointed teeth, often with bristle-like tips.
  4. Leaves hairless above, hairy on veins beneath.
  5. Leaf stalk hairy.

Description

Tree: Rounded to wide-spreading trees up to 10–15 m tall.

Bark: Grey-brown to dark brown.

Leaves: Leaf margins single- or double-toothed.

Flowers: 20–35 mm across, on hairy stalks. Sepal tube urn-shaped and constricted just below the mouth.

Ripe fruit: Roughly 10mm, black.

Notes: The flowers almost always carry some shade of pink, though this may fade with age.

The true spring cherry flowers in late spring. Weeping forms are often grown.

The autumn cherry is a cultivar of the spring cherry. It flowers throughout autumn and on until very early spring.

The Yoshino cherry is the national flower of Japan and is so common in the Japanese capital that it is also known as the Tokyo cherry. It is tolerant of air pollution.

Fuji Cherry

(Prunus incisa)

ID check

  1. Flowers on hairy stalks, in clusters of 2–4.
  2. Sepal lobes not toothed.
  3. Leaf margins with pointed teeth.
  4. Leaves hairy on both surfaces.
  5. Leaf stalk hairy.

Description

Tree: Up to 10 m high, crown spreading.

Bark: Grey-brown to dark brown.

Leaves: Downy on both surfaces. Margins double- or triple-toothed, with teeth pointed but without a bristle-like tip.

Flowers: White or pink, 20–30 mm across, hanging downwards, fragrant. Sepal tube bell-shaped, widening gradually towards the mouth.

Ripe fruit: 6 mm long, ovoid, purplish-black.

Notes: Various cultivars are known, including forms with multiple petals, and tiny flowers, plus autumn-flowering forms.

Tibetan Cherry

(Prunus serrula)

ID check

  1. Flowers on hairless stalks, in clusters of 2–3.
  2. Leaf margins with pointed teeth.
  3. Leaf stalk hairless.
  4. Bark of trunk and branches very glossy, purplish brown, peeling in thin, copper-brown strips.

Description

Tree: Rounded, 10–15 m tall.

Leaves: Margins with sharp, gland-tipped teeth and a long, pointed apex; downy or hairless beneath.

Flowers: Roughly 15 mm across, white.

Fruits: Roughly 10 mm long, ovoid, red when ripe.

Notes: The Tibetan cherry originates from the Sichuan and Yunnan provinces of China. It is grown for its spectacular, extremely glossy bark.

St Lucie Cherries

St Lucie Cherry (Prunus mahaleb)

Pin Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)

ID check

  1. Flowers on hairless stalks, in clusters of 10 or fewer.
  2. Leaf margins with blunt or rounded teeth, often tipped with a claw-like gland.
  3. Leaf stalk hairless.
  4. Flowers arranged along a short stem, not all arising from a central point.
  5. Flowers up to 20 mm across on stalks up to 15 mm long.
  6. Fruit up to 10 mm long.

Description

St Lucie Cherry: leaves with an abruptly pointed tip, downy on the underside. Ripe fruit 8–10 mm long, ovoid and glossy black.Pin cherry: leaves with a long, tapering tip, hairless. Ripe fruit 6 mm long, globe-like and red.

Tree: Small, spreading trees.

Leaves: Broadly oval to rounded. Margins have small, rounded teeth with short tips.

Flowers: 1–6 in stalked, branched clusters. Flowers 10–20 mm across, white, fragrant.

Ripe fruit: Ripe fruit bitter.

Notes: Weeping varieties are sometimes planted.

Wild Cherry

(Prunus avium)

ID check

  1. Flowers in clusters of 2–6, with hairless stalks all arising from a central point.
  2. Flowers cup-shaped, more than 20 mm across on stalks more than 15 mm long.
  3. Bud scales persisting at base of flower stalks.
  4. Leaves dull above, sparsely hairy beneath.
  5. Leaf margins with blunt or rounded teeth, often tipped with a claw-like gland.
  6. Leaf stalk hairless.
  7. Fruit more than 10 mm long, on stalks 20 mm or more long.

Description

Tree: Up to 25 m tall.

Bark: Greyish.

Leaves: Margins double-toothed, the teeth ending with a purple gland, hairy at least on the veins beneath; leaf stalk with several wart-like red glands near the junction with the blade.

Bud scales: Large brown bud scales at the base of each flower cluster.

Flowers: Fully-open flowers are 25–35 mm across, shallowly cup-shaped, white, and in some cultivars double. The sepals form an urn-shaped tube constricted just below the mouth.

Ripe fruit: 10-20 mm long, blackish or yellowish-red, sweet or sour-tasting.

Notes: The wild cherry is a common woodland tree but is also often planted. The fruit is edible. The cultivated sweet or dessert cherries are derived from wild cherry.

Morello Cherry

(Prunus cerasus)

ID check

  1. Flowers in clusters of 2–6, with hairless stalks all arising from a central point.
  2. Leaves glossy above, hairless beneath.
  3. Leaf margins with blunt or rounded teeth, often tipped with a claw-like gland.
  4. Leaf stalk hairless.
  5. Flowers in clusters, with stems arising from a central point.
  6. Flowers saucer-shaped, more than 20 mm across on stalks more than 15 mm long.
  7. Fruit more than 10 mm long.

Description

Tree: Small, up to 6 m tall.

Bark: Smooth, dull brown.

Leaves: More or less hairless, margins single- or double-toothed, the teeth ending with a purple gland. Leaf-stalk without glands near the junction with the leaf blade.

Bud scales: Large green bud-scales at the base of each flower cluster.

Flowers: Fully-open flowers are white and 20–25 mm across. The sepals form a bell-shaped tube.

Ripe fruit: 10–20 mm long, red or black, sour-tasting.

Notes: The morello cherry occurs in the wild and is also widely cultivated for its fruit. It is sometimes called the sour cherry and is mainly used for cooking. There are two varieties of morello cherry. The type commonly known as morello has dark-red to almost black fruit. The other variety, known as amarelle, has lighter red fruit.


Cherry look-alikes

Cherries have the following distinguishing characters:

  • Flowers in simple clusters, branched clusters or spikes
  • Styles 1
  • Seeds 1
  • Ripe fruit < 2 cm with a smooth apex
  • Bark with raised horizontal lines or bands of pores (lenticels)

Common trees that can be confused with cherries

Cherry-plum

The most easily confused and frequently planted, especially purple-leaved forms. Look for:

  • Flowers in 1-3 in clusters
  • Style 1
  • Fruit 2.5-3 cm with a grape-like bloom

Flowering Crabs

Some species are difficult to distinguish from cherries, especially when in fruit. Look for:

  • Styles 4-5
  • Seeds several
  • Ripe fruit 0.5-3cm. In some species the withered sepals persist at the apex, in others the sepals fall early so the ripe fruit is smooth and cherry-like

Almond

Belongs to the same genus as cherries. Look for:

  • Flowers in pairs
  • Styles 1
  • Seeds 1
  • Ripe fruit 3.5-6cm, hairy

Mespils

Can be confused with Bird Cherries, especially. Look for:

  • Flowers in open spikes
  • Styles 5
  • Seeds 4-10
  • Ripe fruit up to 1cm, with a grape-like bloom and long sepals persistint at the apex

Trees less easily confused with cherries

Apples and Pears

Look for:

  • Styles 2-5
  • Seeds several
  • Ripe fruit > 2 cm with withered sepals persisting at the apex

Peach

The same genus as cherries. Look for:

  • Flowers solitary
  • Styles 1
  • Seeds 1
  • Ripe fruit 4-8cm, hairy

Plums and Damsons

The same genus as cherries. Damsons and wild plums can be thorny. Look for:

  • Flowers in 1-3 in clusters
  • Style 1
  • Seeds 1
  • Ripe fruit 2-8 cm with a grape-like bloom

Blackthorn

The same genus as cherries. Look for:

  • Twigs thorny
  • Flowers in 1 or in pairs
  • Style 1
  • Seeds 1
  • Ripe fruit c. 1.2 cm with a grape-like bloom
Quelle: http://offene-naturfuehrer.de/web/Key_to_cherries_(Bob_Press)
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